Fact & Fiction

The stories we learn about individuals—whether they be historical or taken from recent headlines—can be incomplete narratives. We learn facts and statistics, or sensationalized intimate details that are used to push an agenda or to sell interest in a publication. Since we are fond of colorful stories,

I thought it would be interesting if the events that describe non-fictional characters were actually taken from fiction.

 

For example, using part of the prologue from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (in which the character describes his frustration of not being seen) with the image of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassin, James Earl Ray, to provide a method of insight into an otherwise incomprehensible mind. Another image from this series is that of a child soldier with text from the Lord of the Flies, a story in which children establish their own laws as advantages of a newly formed civilization.

 

Using these fictional stories is not meant for entertainment. These classic tales of the imagination are tools that frame individuals as human beings, who made decisions and may have been forced into events that we would all find challenging. The fiction is meant to establish empathy and invite introspection into the actions of these people. Knowledge is not a mere quantity—it also permits a quality of understanding to be cherished and shared.

© 2019 Rodney Ewing

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