I'm currently writing a new outline of the beast that will become my thesis booklet. Along the way, I've written a few questions I hope to answer, the most important being:
Why do we tell stories?
In the course of reading "important" academic texts, I came to the high-minded answer that stories are told in order to "understand the human condition," "make sense of the world," "create a sense of empathy towards others" and so on. I only now realized that I missed a very important point:
Stories are told for the pleasure they bring to both storyteller and audience.
There is just something so fun about either telling or hearing a good story (I must admit, I am usually on the hearing end of a story). This thesis may be an in-depth analysis of story and storytelling methods, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be dry and dull and overly "important."
So I'll end with a quote from the first essay of the book pictured above, titled "Trickster in a Suit of Lights: Thoughts on the Modern Short Story," in which Michael Chabon somehow makes the idea of entertainment a deep one:
"The best response to those who would cheapen and exploit [entertainment] is not to disparage or repudiate but to reclaim entertainment as a job fit for artists and for audiences, a two-way exchange of attention, experience, and the universal hunger for connection."