After celebrating Independence Day in the United States, I can’t help thinking about the politics in my country. I am grateful to the founding fathers and all of the men and women that have built this country. Many individuals have played a part in making changes to the country, and many more have the ability to continue making changes, good and bad.
Politics are the actions and debates that direct the governing of a country. I will be honest in saying that I don’t spend a lot of time keeping up to date. However, I do feel like it is important to be aware of how specific political changes will affect everyday life. What is most applicable to me is how political movements alter the stories of individuals.
Politics in Stories
In the real life stories, a recent political debate has been about offering free higher education. As a recently graduated student, I know that school is expensive. I would continue my education in a heartbeat if the price tag wasn’t an issue. However, if the imagined scenario were true, many others would do the same as me.
Capacities of schools would be limited by the resources, and with an increase of applicants, it would be much more difficult to be accepted into any school. The absence of income from tuition would greatly decrease the resources of all schools and the quality of the education would go down. In addition, the value of the education to the students would be minimal because there was no sacrifice. Students wouldn’t work as hard to learn and they would not be learning to work hard.
Imagine the consequences that would result in the scenario now. This is one example of how politics can greatly alter a story. How could the politics of your home or work environment alter your life? How do the politics of a fictional world affect the story of a character?
Politics in Fiction
With various political systems such as a democracy, monarchy, republic, and others, your fictional world may be governed in a number of different ways. Depending on the system and where your character fits in that system, the story can be entirely different.
Imagine the story of The Prince and the Pauper. What if the government was a republic instead, and the prince was just the son of a republican leader? Consider the different versions of monarchies, if the king was elected the prince would have a different life than one being groomed to be king.
A character is affected differently depending on the government system. Individuals may be ruled by fear and live their lives in obedience to avoid punishment. Or a character may excel in dreams and goals because he or she has a strong influence in the government. The level of responsibility will impact a story for a character as well. We’ve seen the stories of a prince or princess that sneaks away and wishes to escape the endless duties. But, what if a Prince had to fight for his right to the throne or if he had to persuade his kingdom to elect him?
Even within the political systems there are twists that you can make for your own story. Try identifying the system that governs your world, country, city, or village. What are the effects of the system and how does it play a part in your story? Perhaps you can learn more about different political systems and maybe start a story prompted from an interesting government.