A Micro Mystery

Posted: August 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

I wrote a 100-word micro (not counting the title). You’re about to read it, but only if you continue on. The reason I’m posting this isn’t to impress you with my incredible writing style; it’s to make you think. What I’ve written has been used thousands of times by writers, and it makes for good fodder around the campfire, or even better discussions regarding the mechanics of writing.

Here’s my spoof:

Reunions

 

He stepped to the window seeing only himself, the person he was years ago, that
former man standing before the selfsame window. The past squirmed and tore like
a zombie hidden in the shadowy recesses of his mind. The shadows continued
tearing until skin split, until the zombie from the past stepped out into the present.

Dr. Jekyll (NOW) kissed Mr. Hyde (THEN). Worlds collided; history shattered.

“Nice duds.” Hyde put on Jekyll’s tie.

“Indeed.”

Jekyll picked up Hyde’s bloody cane. “I say… is that brain tissue?”

When Jekyll noticed his wife missing, his heart sank before Hyde’s terrible grin.

Now that you had to wade through that, here’s my question: why does such a terrible scene pose such horror? No, we know the answer to that. Instead, let’s ask ourselves this question: why does this scene keep replicating itself throughout literature and cinema in one form or another? (I won’t even list the many different movies/books in which this same type of scene has been paid homage to by various writers.) What is it about this particular kind of conflict that draws us? More importantly, what is it about INTERNAL CONFLICT which goads us to continue reading?

I doubt whether it is external conflict that made the two famous characters (above) well known; it was Jekyll’s internal conflict, his wrestling with inner-demons and shadow-selves which drew readers to Hyde and Jekyll.

What say you? And is it still the same? Do we favor internal struggle as much (if not more) than external struggle?

If so, why? Doesn’t this tell us a lot about ourselves as individuals, family members and cultures?

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