Disillusionment Plot

Recently, some naive assumptions I've held were shattered. I tend toward a rather optimistic view of people and situations, so this definitely isn't the first time I've been so disillusioned. I can say, however, that the hollow feeling in the bottom of my stomach caused by these little disappointments doesn't get any easier to take. I'm not going to get into any kind of explanation. That would be giving the experience more importance than it's worth. What I'd like to do, instead, is use it as a theme for this blog post.

Today's topic is the Disillusionment Plot.

This type of plot occurs when your protagonist starts off with a set of ideals, but by the end of the story has abandoned these ideals.

My main female character, Ailith, experiences this type of plot. At the beginning of her story she is chosen by her god to be the high queen of a magical race of people. She sets out, sure of her success, to find her king and enlist his aide against the forces of dark. Along the way, however, her decisions cost the lives of innocents and those she loves. She ends her part in the story being rescued by the king she betrayed rather than helping him, convinced that the god chose wrong in making her high queen, and wallowing in self-pity for herself and her losses.

Though my disillusionment was different than Ailith's, we both shared the disappointment of shattered naivete. How about you? Have you believed the best of someone or a situation only to be disappointed? Or like Ailith, did you set out sure you'd be successful in an endeavor only to end completely disappointed in the outcome because of your own actions or decisions? Do you have a character that has also experienced this journey in one of your stories? Are you or your character like the penguin above, surprised to find that you're not as special as you thought?


Hildred said…
I think everyone has experiences like this to some degree (I know I've had my fair traumatic share) but, as a realistic and cynical person myself, I instantly am wary of everyone and everything. Still, it doesn't make realizing that you've been completely disillusioned about something or someone any easier. But it does make for a very satisfying story!
One of my characters seems to have the opposite story going on. She has a very skeptical jaded point of view, but discovers that others had good intentions in doing the things she is so angry about, and that many of the "monsters" in hear world don't fit her stereotypes and prove to be trustworthy friends.

I did write up a short story from my life a while back that I titled "Disillusionment". A story of putting too much faith in the church, and needing to put more faith in God. http://sanctumasylum.blogspot.com/2010/09/disillusionment.html

I think delusions need to be shattered, and truth sought no matter how painful the truth is. If we can deliver a good reality check through our fiction that is a good thing.

But sometimes I feel that there is way too much skepticism in the world today, and what our readers are in deeper need of is not stories that take the blinders off to show them how bad things really are, but stores that give a set of lenses to show them reality is good too. It's not all bad news. Sometimes our delusions are worse than the truth, and those too can benefit from being shattered.
Sabrina A. Fish said…
It stinks no matter if you're used to it or not. And it does make for a great story! Thanks for stopping by, Hildred.
Sabrina A. Fish said…
I agree, Patrick. I am happy behind my rose colored glasses *wink* and see no need to look for the negative or failings of this world and those in it.
Morgan said…
Oh, Sabrina---this is the WORST feeling ever! I hate this. And I get this. I know I felt this way with my first book---I felt so strongly that I was going to have success and everything would be aligned for me---and gosh, when reality hit, it was *really* hard to take. But not only with writing, I tend to live my life in naivety---I'm so trusting, and when I realize what's really going on, it hurts.

But I also think that when we dip low, it only gives us reason to be stronger. When we climb back up, I think it's important to be realistic, but I also think it's fine to have a bit of those rose glasses on---I know I like to have them so I actually *believe* that things are possible! :D
Gina Gao said…
I have had this experience multiple times. As of my experience right now, I feel as if there is no worse feeling.

Not sure if it's disillusionment, but the main character in my first book started off thinking he wanted one thing, locked in his view of the world and people, and by the end, all of that had changed.
Ashley Nixon said…
I suppose I'm feeling the disillusionment at the moment, and my characters have as well. It really bums you out.

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