The Desire to be Important

Do you ever feel as though you were meant for something more? That your life should be more extraordinary and exciting? What about that feeling that you aren’t even close to living up to your full potential? Somewhere deep down inside you know you are more important than you seem.

Very Important Person
Of course, you are a very important person!

Well, you’re not alone. I often feel that way, but so do many others. How do I know? I just take a look at the types of literature available throughout the years. So many stories deal with unexpected importance: the long-lost princess, unknown demigod, or surprise sorceress. The underdog who saves the day is another popular theme, as is the “discovering another world” theme.

 

Over and over again we see these themes present themselves in varying aspects in our fiction. Why is that? What makes this so appealing?  I can only surmise that a great many people feel unsatisfied, and their subconscious minds are fighting the world’s message that they are expendable, replaceable, unoriginal, and unimportant.

 

There are probably quite a few people who would say that these types of stories are overdone. I think the popularity of the Harry Potter series is proof of the opposite. I think more than ever readers will continue to enjoy these types of stories, as long as they are not too boring or full of “typical” characters.


What do you think? Do you believe there is a permanent niche for these types of stories, or do you think they should be abandoned in favor of striving for something more original?

2 comments

  1. Do you know, this need to feel special, important, unique is (I honestly believe) a fundamental human desire, right up there with the need for food, shelter, community approval. And it contradicts perhaps the community approval thing, but sometimes it’s: ‘THEN they’ll see how wonderful I am and start to really appreciate me’. I think this theme in literature is as old as the hills – as is the flipside of the coin, wishing to be special and unique but failing (Madame Bovary springs to mind).

    • I have to agree with your assessment that it’s a fundamental human desire. Even though the theme is used over and over, it seems to work well. Even though we know that we aren’t born Superman, we still like to believe that there is something in us that sets us apart.

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