Every morning on Twitter, I ask people how I can help them. A recent request asked for more stories about communities of people persevering, more stories that share the gift of groups. The Tweeter thinks we’re addicted to lone hero stories, and miss out on the gift of groups.
This of course got me thinking, can a story focus exclusively on a group? Can a group be a protagonist? We can certainly write stories with groups in them, but I believe that a whole group as the protagonist would be too much.
We couldn’t focus on the details.
It’s like looking at a forest across the lake. At first you can see the entire panorama, the grand sweep of nature’s majesty, but your eye is almost immediately drawn to the details. The individual trees, the large rock in the distance, the small islands in the lake, or the trees on the islands, all these jump out. Your eye needs something to focus on.
People need a face, an individual to connect to and a group is only a collection of individuals. (Side Note: Perhaps another reason for Jesus Christ to be sent, to put a face, a hero, to the idea of God…)
A great story is someone (or a group with someone highlighted) overcoming massive conflict to get something he/she/they want(s). That someone can be part of a group, or fighting for/with a group, but never a group itself.
Human beings are simply designed to focus on the individual, therefore those are the stories we connect with and enjoy.