DISCUSSION : Stories with (or without) Hidden Messages


#1

I am here with a new DISCUSSION - but I have picked this topic in general, because I am on the different side of many members of the community. I am hoping people will share their opinion no matter what, and if you still want to share it but, to scared to post. Feel free to PM me and I will post it.

(back in school this was that question, ‘What was the author trying to portray through out the story’ or ‘What is the author trying to get readers to take away from this story’ I hated these questions)


  1. Why do you think authors include hidden messages (like morals of the story) in their story.
    1a. Do you think that they include it on purpose?
  2. Do you yourself, like stories with clear morals.
  3. Give an example of a story you read in which there was a hidden meaning.
  4. Does every story have a moral / hidden meaning / hidden message?
    4a. Is this necessarily a good thing? Can it be a bad thing?
  5. Can a story ‘just be a story’
  6. Can a reader find a moral, totally different from the authors?


#2

This sounds like it could become an interesting discussion. I hope more people weigh in.
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( 1.) I can’t cover every possible reason to include messages or morals, but the first thing that comes to mind is self-expression. All of us have a need to express ourselves. Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, etc, come out in our work, sometimes without our intention. (1a) In some cases, it is most definitely on purpose. Authors have used allegory and metaphor to make people think about things in a different way. Works like “Animal Farm” and “The Crucible” were poignant commentaries on political and social goings-on of the time.
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(2.) I don’t want the morals to be too blatant. Stories for young children need to be clear, but when we mature, that same level of clarity would make it feel like the author is talking down to us.
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(3.) I wish I could remember the name of the story. It read like an anthropologist’s report on a foreign culture. It described rituals and customs. It sounded strange and fascinating, until you realized that the italicized words were familiar things spelled backward. The story was about our modern life, the way an outside observer might describe it if they had no previous exposure. In this story, the meaning is hidden, but only until you “get it.” It’s memorable, just for that epiphany when you realize what you’re really reading about.
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(4-5) I think not every story has a message or a moral, and that’s fine. I don’t mind a story that’s just for entertainment. I wonder, though, if it’s possible to write a story and exclude all messages from it.
A little more on 4a: Messages can be powerful. They can highlight problems and help bring about change. But, negative or misguided messages can be harmful.
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(6.) It’s possible. Like other media, the viewers/readers can see things that other people miss. People can infer things that the author didn’t mean, or didn’t intentionally include.
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I hope you’ll share some of your thoughts on this thread. :slight_smile:


#3

1. Why do you think authors include hidden messages (like morals of the story) in their story.

Like @TigerByTheToe said, I think some authors include hidden messages or morals for self-expression. When authors write stories, they sometimes put a little of themselves into the story. Others just like to write on themes.

1a. Do you think that they include it on purpose?

Some do, and others may be unintentional morals.

2. Do you yourself, like stories with clear morals.

I do like stories with morals, but they don’t necessarily have to be clear-cut morals.

3. Give an example of a story you read in which there was a hidden meaning.

Both The Daddy by Shyla and Speak by J. Miley have hidden meanings about having to go through the bad to get to the good in their respective ways. Everything happens for a reason to get you to the point in your life where you are at.

4. Does every story have a moral / hidden meaning / hidden message?

No. Some are just fun reads.

4a. Is this necessarily a good thing? Can it be a bad thing?

I don’t think it’s either.

5. Can a story ‘just be a story’?

Absolutely. A story doesn’t have to have a hidden meaning to be good.

6. Can a reader find a moral, totally different from the authors?

I remember when I was in high school and read The Scarlett Letter, I came away with a totally different meaning than my English teacher did. While stories can have multiple meanings, sometimes some morals are unintentional.


#4

1. Why do you think authors include hidden messages (like morals of the story) in their story.
I know self expression has already been said, but I also think it’s to add value. Like, in addition to entertaining readers, you also give them something to think about
1a. Do you think that they include it on purpose?
I’d say so most of the time. I think sometimes it can be an after thought, that the author only adds in once they’ve gotten so far into their story and they’ve noticed it’s going a different direction.
But all in all, what a reader takes from a story, might not be what the author intended. So the author might think it’s “just a story” but someone out there has found a message within it anyway.

2. Do you yourself, like stories with clear morals.
Yes, but I need to be in the right kind of mood to read such a story.

3. Give an example of a story you read in which there was a hidden meaning.
At the moment, I’ve been reading Equality by Amanda Michele. The title sort of gives away the message lol
4. Does every story have a moral / hidden meaning / hidden message?
I sort of touched on it before… I think that even if an author doesn’t intend on writing a lesson to be learnt, a reader can find a hidden message in anything. So maybe yes?
4a. Is this necessarily a good thing? Can it be a bad thing?
I think it’s a good thing that the power of words can potentially shift someone’s views. I guess if you abuse your power though to influence something bad, then yeah it can be a bad thing.
But overall, episode is a great platform to send subliminal messages, good or bad, because of the way you can literally write in consequences for the wrong choice.
5. Can a story ‘just be a story’
I think you can write a story for the sake of it, but again, the reader will make of it what they will. There’s always going to be someone that won’t think of it as “just a story”
6. Can a reader find a moral, totally different from the authors?
Absolutely


#5

Oh this is so the discussion for me. Get ready for the rambles of a literature nerd :3

Why do you think authors include hidden messages (like morals of the story) in their story?
Because by writing stories it’s easier to get your point across and get your readers to think about it. If you talk about your morals, it will be only that, talk, random words. However, if you include them and show them in a story, people are “forced” to think more about them, and maybe you’ll even get to convince them of that.
Do you think that they include it on purpose?
Some do, some don’t. Some make stories solely with the purpose of getting their point across (see C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia). But some others just want to make a story, and in those stories, even though nothing may happen, they leave the reader thinking (see almost all of Anton Chekhov’s stories)

Do you yourself, like stories with clear morals.
No, I don’t. I like stories that make me think and allow me to get to a conclusion of my own. I like stories that affect me in an intellectual or “spiritual” level by allowing me to initiate a dialogue with the story, not the ones that shove morals down my throat and expect me to be okay with that. I want the stories to recognise me as my own being, rather than some blank canvas in which the ideas can be plastered with no problem.

Give an example of a story you read in which there was a hidden meaning.
Oof, there are THOUSANDS of these. Okay, maybe not thousands, but there are still a lot. To begin with, there’s The Chronicles of Narnia, these were my favourite books growing up and they have a very dear place in my heart. There’s also Oysters or Mysery be Chekhov. There’s also The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or Señas de identidad. I could go on and on forever.

Does every story have a moral / hidden meaning / hidden message?
Not necessarily a moral/hidden meaning or hidden message. But all stories say something. Even if people read them just for entertainment, stories will always say something. Be it on the story itself, on the issues addressed in it, about the writer or about the reader. Literature is made for people to get those messages, even if they aren’t meant to be like that.
Is this necessarily a good thing? Can it be a bad thing?
As a thing itself, it is neither good or bad. I love seeing the power of art, and how it can change us. However, the outcome can be both, good or bad.
Some people can send the wrong messages, be it purposefully or on accident, and that can harm readers. However, no matter the message, it’s up to how the reader takes it if the things the story causes are good or bad.

Can a story ‘just be a story’?
No. Anyone who has come across me in these kind of discussions has had to endure my opinions, but I’m going to share them once again.
Oscar Wilde himself said that:

Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life

And I believe that’s true. What we read has the power to shape us. And as Plato said, stories have the power to “move our souls”. Everything we read changes us in some way. Everything we read gives us something to think about. A writer can make a story just for the sake of it, Anton Chekhov wrote stories merely because he needed the money. But in any case, stories will always say something, and that is up to the readers’ interpretations.

Can a reader find a moral, totally different from the authors?
Definitely. “Not two people have ever read the same story”, there can be as many interpretations of a story as there are readers for that story. No interpretation is better than other, they’re different. However, the reader must make an effort to make a good interpretation of it.


Discussion: What are your opinions on It Starts With A Bra?
#6

Do you want to give an example of a misguided message : D


#7

What’s a good example of a story (with morals) that you would fall in love with?
I haven’t heard of ‘The Daddy’ what’s the hidden meaning in that one? What about Speak?


#8

Would you write a story with morals?


#9

I agree, it’s always nice to get to your own conclusions.

I like to consider my stories as ‘just a stories’ - especially bad to the bone (which idk if you have read, I think you have) because a moral might be killing your parents and being a sociopath with some morals is okay. Maybe someone will read into my story and find a positive moral or hidden message that I did not realize when writing.

You make another great point, it’s up to the reader to take the moral. In your literature class, have you come across a story inwhich you found the morals - questionable?


#10

In The Daddy, the main character goes through multiple different bad relationships until she finds love in the most unexpected place, a single dad. (Completed story).

Speak I think has a lot of hidden messages. The author says the story is about hope and never giving up, but it’s also about perseverance and everything happening for a reason.


#11

I like morally grey stories because they give me a lot to thing about, and Bad to the Bone is one of those. It reminds me why I have my morals and why they’re important.

There are many stories with questionable morals, this semester alone I’ve read quite a few of them. There’s La familia de Pascual Duarte, in which the main character kills all of his family and blames them for that; The Nose by Nikolai Gogol, that seems to say that no matter what you do things will work out fine for you; The Bear by Chekhov, that needs to be read in a comedic tone, otherwise people will just find it very weird… I could go on. But I think one of the most popular examples of this kind of stories can be Lolita or A Clockwork Orange, and in movies we can find The Professional or Fight Club.

All of these are awesome stories, but one has to be careful with how they’re read, and you cannot swallow them whole, they require you to think a lot about them.


#12

I’m thinking mainly of this:

Definition of Propaganda
Propaganda is the spreading of rumors, false or correct information, or an idea, in order to influence the opinion of society. It may advance an idea or bring into disrepute an opposite idea. In literature, writers use propaganda as a literary technique to manipulate public opinion for or against one idea or another. In history, we can search a plethora of literary works used as propaganda to shape public perceptions, and direct their behavior to get a response. Generally, propaganda is a technique for convincing people, but which is misleading in nature, or promotes a false viewpoint.
from literarydevices.net

Propaganda can have positive or negative effects. It was used in Nazi Germany to sway people’s opinions in favor of the Aryan objective. “Mein Kampf” is often cited as an example, though I’ve never read it myself.

I also haven’t read “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.” An article from Quora calls it “One of the earliest forms of American propaganda depicting Native Americans as violent savages capturing poor Christian women for no reason at all.”

You can see where I’m going with this. People can be influenced to accept hateful and immoral ideologies through an entertaining narrative.


#13

Who knows. Maybe…


#14

Bumping because I feel like this is an important topic right now


#15

ah in regards to the bra bra story? I personally like the camo - done by the author of the old - grumpy guy stories xD


#16

Not everything needs a moral or needs to be made in such a manner that “the young impressionable children” are influenced by it. Yes stories can and do have lessons (based on the author or made up by the reader). That being said not everything needs to be a PC story. Art can and should be made to entertain and as a method of teaching or use.
U have art for arts sake
Art for use(utilitarian: cups and bowls)
Among others
Art in this case writing is a versatile form. Edgar Allen Poe probably was not trying to teach a lesson in some of his short stories. On the same token graffiti it has meaning to some and to others its just vandalism. It is done to make a point and as an art form to express(but the two are not exclusive.)People get caught up in finding meaning in everything that they forget to enjoy art for what it is.
Beautiful art is beautiful art adding a moral or a meaning makes it just as beautiful. You can take things at face value or dig deeper and find things that others may not realize however art can be just for arts sake. Just my two cents on morals and art. It can teach and just be pretty it doesnt always need to teach or vice versa.


#17

bump a discussion ? :0


#18

Well, I already commented on here when you first posted, but I thought you should know that this thread really stuck with me. So much so that I’ve actually tried to put hidden messages throughout some episodes I’ve been working on since


#19

(that’s amazing!)


#20

1.) Why do you think authors include hidden messages (like morals of the story) in their story?

A lot of authors want to demonstrate a concept or belief in their story. It could also make for an interesting story. Demonstrating the concept through a story can be much more effective. It’s also a safer way to present an unpopular opinion. It can also be for the authors themselves. The morals put in represent the author’s beliefs which they want to share with everyone. Depending on what moral you are adding, the story can also be much more interesting. To be honest, for me stories without morals aren’t good stories. It’s the stories with deep morals that shake you up that are amazing. As an aspiring writer on this platform, my end goal is to have my readers make a difficult choice where right and wrong are really gray. I want the events of the story to shake up the readers to make that final choice difficult.

1a.) Do you think they include it on purpose?

Yes and no. Some morals are included purposely by the other because they want to demonstrate a concept, however morals can also be added unintentionally. How the story is read, is subjective to each person’s perspective, so what morals are seen differs by reader.

2.) Do you yourself like stories with clear morals?

I like morals in a story. I love them. I mentioned that in the first question. Clear morals? i’m not so sure what you mean by that. Do you mean that the moral is blatantly said and given? Cause in that case no. I believe that the story should tell the moral(s). By that I mean, the story should represent the moral.

3.) Give an example of a story you read in which there was a hidden meaning.

I didn’t read it, I watched it. But, I think it equally fulfills the purpose of the question. Technically, a manga was made after the anime series so it’s readable.
The anime Jigoku Shoujo. (Jigoku = Hell, Shoujo= girl) It’s such a good anime if you want to talk about morals and the “gray” rather than “black and white”! The story is about a website that can be accessed at midnight called “Jigoku Tsuushin” in which you can enter the name of the person you want to send to hell. You get a straw doll with a red string tied to it from Jigoku Shoujo. She explains, “If you curse a person, two holes are dug.” Meaning, if they untie the string to send the person to hell, they too will also go to hell when they die. Although it is wrong to send people to hell, the people who pull the strings all are deeply troubled and having a difficult time living because of that person. Whether or not this system is okay also comes up. It is there where a person can be conflicted on whether or not it was okay to pull that red string.

4.) Does every story have a moral/ hidden meaning/ hidden message?

Whether or not if it’s on purpose or if it’s noticeable, I think there are morals in each story.

4a.) is this necessarily a good thing? Can it be a bad thing?

I think it’s a very good thing. But, it can also be a bad thing. What morals are, are subjective to people. Different authors view the world differently. Authors that may have “dangerous” ideas or morals will represent them in their story and that can change various people’s perspectives.

5.) Can a story be ‘just a story’?

A story is just a story. A story is based off of real life and morals, which in turn affects us. I think every event in our life, every story, influences us. So, if by “just a story,” you mean don’t effect us, then no.

6.) Can a reader find a moral, totally different from the authors?

I believe I accidentally answered this in a prior question. Yes! Sometimes authors add morals without knowing, and those morals can be identified by different people. We all view things differently as well, so what the author didn’t see- a reader may have saw.