The Value of Dark Fiction Part 2
We all tend to assume that everyone views the world in the same way we do. We assume that everyone thinks in the same way we do. We all tend to feel like no one understands us, but we talk and act like everyone does. Perhaps life would be easier if we talked and acted like no one understood us and felt like everyone did. That being said let me try this again; last time I made assumptions, sparked a lot of debate, and probably managed to hurt some feelings (which was, and is, not my intention).
The value in dark fiction is found in its ability to reach certain people and teach them in a way that nothing else can. I can say, with absolute certainty since I am talking about myself, that a young man who has hurt and been hurt deeply does not need a story about how the good guys win in the end. This young man, let us call him John (A part of me has always wished I was named John…I like my name, but I like John too), does not need a story about a person who has made a few mistakes but sees the error of his ways. Nor does he need a story about how everything works out for good or how God is in control.
John does not need a story that tells him the world is a good place and he should be happy. To John; whether this is because of his experiences, because of his mind, because of his pain, whatever the reason might be; these stories lie. What John needs is a story which reflects the world he knows, a place of hate and pain, and a character who hurts and is hurt as deeply as John, himself. He needs a story, and a character, that can help him make sense of his own pain. A story that can help him understand a God who would allow that pain, and how this God could possibly be called good.
John needs a character who reflects himself. John needs a character that is similar enough for him to connect with. John needs a story that explains to him on an emotional level, as well as an intellectual one, how God can possibly be called good. How there can be hope, trust, and love in the face of pain so extreme that he has no way to express it. John needs a story that shows him that the things he has held onto; the hope, freedom, and joy he has found in hate, in sin, in evil; is a lie. That it is nothing compared to what he could have in Christ. John needs a story that will teach him how to deal with pain, how to love God, and how to love people when the only thing he knows, that he understands, is how to hate. More than anything John needs a story in which he can place himself and follow the path laid out to freedom.
This is the value of dark fiction, the value of graphic fiction. This is the value of that fiction which expresses the deepest levels of pain, and the darkness so often found in the human condition. While it may bring understanding, it may edify others, and it may create a point of connection between very disparate people; the truest value of dark fiction is found in its ability to reach, and bring healing, to people which nothing else can.