Let me ask you all a few questions.
Have you ever been in a scenario where everything is just perfect?
Can you think of events in your life where there has been only happiness, joy, peace and tons of laughter?
Is it possible for you and your partner or sibling or any friend to think alike?
Have you never faced conflicts?
If your answer is yes for any of the above-mentioned questions, then you have been living in a utopian world, which according to me is a fragment of fiction and should stop reading this piece of article right here. If your answer is no, then you should proceed further and read till the end because you know how the world functions.
Veronica Roth, the author of the dystopian novel Divergent once said, “If there’s no conflict, there are no stories worth telling – or reading” and I cannot disagree with her.
Read further to know why I agree with the author.
I want you to imagine this scenario.
We all loved the Harry Potter series and still love it. The kids of 90s and 00s grew up reading the books and watching the movie series. We all loved the magical world, the three teenagers and of course the conflict between the three protagonists, Harry, Ron, Hermione and the bad guy Voldemort. Now would you all have shown the same interest if there was no conflict between the above-mentioned characters? Would you all have loved the book if the author J.K.Rowling had written a plain story where Voldemort is not the bad guy nor he kills Harry’s parents which then would have led to a situation where there would have been no necessity for conflicts between the protagonists and the antagonist. Basically, the story would have been just about a world where magic exists and is also taught to students in a school that resembles a medieval palace. Hogwarts would have been a utopian society and a great lullaby for readers.
The same applies to every book we have read. We cannot encounter a book or story which does not have a conflict or in other terms, is a utopia.
Why should I confine this topic just to novels and stories?
Let me take it further and relate the concept of conflict with real life and tell you why I agree with Ms. Roth that conflict is required for stories that are worth telling.
We, humans, thrive on conflicts.
You might think, “What’s wrong with this woman?”
But, yes! that’s the truth!
Why am I saying so?
The answer is simple. Because we all know no two humans can think alike. We do not have the same set of characteristics nor mannerisms. I am not like you nor you are like me. I do not think like you nor you can think like me. We are not perfect, to be precise.
Have you ever come across a person who thinks just like you? There is a very slim possibility for that. If we meet such people, then there would be very less spice in life. Less spice in life? What’s that?
You all have heard about the phrase, difference of opinions. Why am I mentioning this here? Because we are all opinionated. We hold our own opinions and stay strong on it. So, when people with different opinions meet and try to discuss something, difference of opinions will arise which in turn would lead to conflicts.
Life is all about experiences. These experiences are made up of varied emotions. We might showcase these emotions at various stages of life. And such emotional experiences can cause some friction in our otherwise smooth life and create conflicts.
So, whatever happens in real life, we try to relate it to the characters and situations we read and come across in books and stories. If the story has a utopian setting and the characters are all sugar coated and perfect, we will never be able to relate to the characters nor the story. That book might lie untouched and gather only dust.
You might ask me this question.
“So, you mean to say that only dystopian settings work in real and reel life? You want to say that our lives are built on conflicts?
I am not saying that we wait for conflicts to arrive at our doorstep with bated breath nor we build our lives based on conflicts.
Life can never be linear. Certain ripples will always affect our otherwise perfect lives, but in the end, there would also be solutions for the same. Such solutions are called happy endings in stories. The stories might start on a wrong note but will end in the right way. Our lives also function the same way.
So, do you think when I say conflicts, it is only blood, violence, revenge, murders and other hateful crimes? It is a big NO.
We all have grown up watching musicals. Such movies are supposed to be happy and cheerful ones. But if you watch keenly and try to understand the underlying emotions of the characters, you might notice there are some conflicts.
Conflicts could mean different things for different people. For example, a person fighting his own inner battles is having a conflict. A person who is sad about seeing a puppy starve is having a conflict. A quick minute of sadness for even a minuscule thing is a ripple caused in your life.
What do I intend to say through this article?
Conflicts are everywhere. History would have never been made if there were no problems and we would not have stories of the past to pass on to the present.
To sum it up, I can say that life is not perfect. This world is not perfect and hence, the stories we narrate can also not be perfect. But in a dystopian world or character, you can always find some portion of perfection or utopian values. As Margaret Atwood states “within every dystopia, there’s a little utopia.”