Homo memorator. Man, the rememberer, the story teller. Narrative is inescapable. Apart from mathematical formulae and shopping lists, we rarely merely recall facts and events. Even the recollection of a mathematical formula is contextualized in the class and the teacher and the general events of our lives. We didn’t just learn the Pythagorean theorem, but we had this teacher who . . . And we are off into story, narrative, beginning, middle and end.
The movies and books that sell well, however awful the writing and characterization, are the movies and books that tell stories that work. Are they “formula”? Yes. Are they “good”? Sometimes not. But why do such things do so well? Because they tell stories that resonate within us. Good guys win. Lovers reunite. The travelers return from battling dragons with the elixir that saves the dying queen.
Because we are, all of us, storytellers to the core. We organize the events and facts and desires and fears and all the flotsam and jetsam of our existence into coherent narratives. Every instance we open our mouths to relate “how our day went” we have already interpreted these things in ways that begin “once up one a time.” Our narratives are filled with heroes and heroines, victims and allies, villains and curses, and tragic or happy endings.