Which one is easier, being sad over a fictional tragedy or being sad over a real tragedy?

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Now, I’m going to talk about a very interesting question (to me at least). ‘Which one is easier, being sad over a fictional tragedy or being sad over a real tragedy?’ Let’s begin our discussion.

Fictional tragedy. A tragedy which is crafted by a writer solely to induce a sad, sorrow and grief feelings for the audience. These sad stories are well, fake because it’s a fiction. To me, fictional tragedy is really easy to grieve over because it allows us to imagine ourselves in the character’s position. What does it feel to become a mother who has lost her child in a war? How does it feel like for someone who has stranded on an island for months? How does it feel like for a person to kill his own father by force? Fiction allows us audience to resonate and connect directly to the characters and stories making us feel that we are the characters themselves. It allows us to imagine ourselves in their shoes making it easier for us to understand their pain and suffer. Fiction brings us closer to the characters so it’s much easier for us to feel sad for them.

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Real tragedy is different in some ways. I divide it into two categories which are fiction-like and news or statistics. I’ll talk about the latter first. I ask you, when you watch tragedies in the news, do you feel anything? For example 13 people including women and children were killed in the robbery yesterday or  one million people were killed by a natural disaster. You don’t feel anything right? That’s because all those statistics only show us numbers which are meaningless to us so they don’t give us any feelings. However, if those real tragedies were to turn into fiction-like, things might be different.

What I meant by fiction-like real tragedy is stories that is written based on a true story. As you might already know, there are many stories which are based on a true story out there. Most of the stories are either tragic stories or inspirational stories. By turning a real tragedy into a fiction-like story, the supposed boring news report tragedy quickly becomes a story that can easily connect with the audience because it has all the advantages that a fiction posses. Not only that, people will sympathize with it more just because it is a true story.

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So what’s my take on this? It’s hard to decide. However, if I have to pick a side, I’d say being sad over a real tragedy is easier. Why? Because it’s a true story. This only apply if the real tragedy has turned into a fiction-like story though. If it is still in the news, I’d say the otherwise. I believe real tragedy last longer impression because we know it is true and it is confirmed that someone has gone through all of it. That’s why I think that being sad over a real tragedy is much easier. Fictional tragedies are inspired by real tragedies in the first place.

I have outlined how fiction tragedy and real tragedy affect us and I have also stated my opinion on this matter. Now it’s time for you to decide the answer to my question. Which one is easier, being sad over a fictional tragedy or being sad over a real tragedy?

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9 thoughts on “Which one is easier, being sad over a fictional tragedy or being sad over a real tragedy?

  1. Wow. What an amazing argument you have there. Well, in this time of day, I would say, it always depends on the individual(personality&values).
    Given a high % of humanity being desensitized, I would say it easier to grieve a fictional character/tragedy as opposed to a larger statistic as you mentioned. But when/if the story comes to light through a fictional manner, you gain knowledge of tragedy, it become easier to allow yourself to accept that reality as a reality and acknowledge it. Does that make sense?

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    • Yes that does make sense and WOHOA you just summarized it into one beautiful paragraph… About humanity being desensitized though… I remember those days when I heard killing in the news was horrifying to me but now, I don’t really feel anything when I heard that kind of news because I hear it practically everyday. I think that’s a really bad thing.

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      • Yes. Me too. Once upon a time, statistics saddened me deeply but now…casualties is something I expect and i would go as far as to say, I expect more. Having said that, I’m very selective. Some countries are dear to my heart. Some countries and their struggles I’m just moved by. Hence, as horrible as it may sound, I mentally evaluate and rank struggles. For example I would not compare natural disaster to a man incited disaster. And I would by default be more sympathetic toward those who have fallen because of man-made disasters because it could have been prevented(even if to an extent). So, when I switch on the news and I see rivers of blood, my heart aches. why? Because i believe we all connect. I believe i knew everyone who died one way or another. Who knows, maybe we  exchanged eye contact, maybe they drove/walked past me, maybe someone I knew, knew them right? And ect. So for awhile, such pain was agonizing but now…I feel like it was a phase. And because of that, I’ve accepted that I have become shamefully desensitized/corrupt. And the best part is that I know this very fact. At least now I can do something about it.  Hopefully, we can.

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      • Ranking the tragedies is a pretty natural behaviour to me and I believe it is also natural for the rest of us. For instance, we would sympathize with someone who gets murdered more than to someone who gets in a car accident.

        I too do believe that we are all connected but as much as I can accept it, I want to deny it. I mean, I couldn’t count how many troubles I’ve caused to other people so denying it is the ‘easiest’ solution.

        There is something we can do. The obvious are, as a Muslim, continue to obey Allah and be nice to everybody especially family as they will be with us forever. Other than that, well, I don’t think we can do anything else unless we go a bit more specific.

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  2. At first glance you would think that grieving over a real person’s suffering would easily surpass tragedy for a fictional character. Insensitive as it may sound the reverse tends to be the truth. If I have watched a character struggle over the course of many episodes I cannot help but root for them. If someone from the other side of the world, who I do not know at all, passes away its tough to feel anything for them.

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    • You might be right there but from my experience, I tend to feel sad for real tragedy more easily. Yes, if I watch a character struggles, I will root for them too but if I know that the character is actually real, who exist in this world, I’ll root for them more even if I don’t know character. But well, maybe this is just personal opinion.

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  3. I agree with Judge here. It all depends on whether I know the people involved and my relationship with them. If I were to feel so much so much compassion for every tragedy that occurs in every part of the world, the emotions will overpower my very being. Hence, it is only natural to cut that all off at some point. Fiction makes it easier to relate because you have developed an affinity and emotional understanding with the characters involved that can be akin to the time spent with a friend. Hence, I would feel more for the fictional character.

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    • But If the real tragedy is experienced through a fictional manner, I would naturally sympathize them more. Wouldn’t you? I mean, you have spent some time with the real character too so you’ll know them better. I think it’s easier to feel sad for them. It’s like reading a tragic story and grieve for them. But when you know that the very story that you’re is real, you’ll grieve for them even more.

      Liked by 1 person

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