Stories are beasts of burden carrying our bulky humanity through the winding millennia. On one beast, we’ve bundled our hopes and despairs. Another bears our heroes and our villains. Others are burdened with our loves and our hatreds, our sorrows and our joys, our triumphs and our defeats. Two more bring our memories and our dreams. And at the end of the file, behind a team of six plodding beasts, a massive wagon rumbles and shudders. The wagon carries the fears that humans have gathered, discovered, created, and imagined. These are the fears so dear to us that most humans carry their own secret burdens with them at all times. Otherwise, there would be need for more and bigger wagons.
We’ve learned that stories have a common set of rules. There is a conflict, a setting, a climax and a resolution. There are protagonists and antagonists. There is a theme; good versus evil; man versus nature, man versus man, man versus society, man versus himself. We ride the story and we live the emotions it evokes. We’re relieved when the hero survives against incredible odds. We shudder when the villain rises again. We cheer for good and curse the evil.
But, what happens when the story is twisted? What does it mean when it is evil versus evil? For whom do we root? When do we cheer? How can such a story even be imagined? In the case of this story, it’s not imagination gone wrong, but truth gone awry.
This is a story of truth - a truth so tragic that its screams are still audible four thousand years later. The echoes of this truth mar our modern language with ugly words and phrases like fire and brimstone, sodomy, hellfire, and the wrath of God. The ashes of this truth smolder on as a reminder of the punishment of hell awaiting the unrepentant sinner. But, truth is a diamond with many facets. From one point, truth is beautiful and glimmers as an example. Change perspective, and you see the flaw. Truth is unjust, a cruel weight carried by men who are crushed beneath it. There is truth in all stories. In this story, there is too much truth. Let us start with the truth of a boy.
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