Why do we connect ourselves to fictional characters?

Everyone has had the question, “What character do you think you’re most like?” We never know how to answer that question. It takes a long time to think about who you like most, everybody wants to be that knight in shining armor, a person who is brave, smart, and a perfect role model. The reason these comparisons are almost never correct is that fictional characters are not us. Life isn’t fiction, we don’t fly or cast spells, we feel emotions, and go through trauma, love, and joy. People connect themselves to characters who convey emotions that have burdened them. The reason we love fiction is that we can see a world that is alive and different from ours but still feels real. For example, the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away puts a regular girl named Chiriho into a world so much more different than the one she lived in. She is lost but finds beauty in the strange world. Chiriho was fearful of the spirits and how odd her world was, but with the help of Haku, she learned to be brave and work hard. I have been lost somewhere completely foreign to me, but over time I met people and became fascinated with the world around me. Leaving was far too difficult but knowing that I will be remembered by the friends I made lightened the pain it caused. 

Almost everyone doesn’t have what they want, it’s even harder to get what we need. We as humans use fictional characters to be our goal. I want to be as determined as the man and woman in the short film Scavengers. I want to be like them because I lack that trait so I connected myself and use them as role models to become what I want or to have an endpoint

I also learn good lessons from fictional writings. In the writing prompt Don’t Tell Them You Can See, a world is plunged into darkness until someone sees the disgusting imitations of people. I know twisting this into a lesson is far-fetched but you can learn to trust your own instincts, not what you hear. It is important to forge your own views and never let someone tell you what to think.

There is a reason why fiction is so popular among all generations. Characters can be role models for people, they can help us become want we want and imagine a greater world, and hope for the best. Who knows how much time we have left, we can live our lives through characters and grow to be superheroes.

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