I may be wrong about this, but I don't see a difference between morality and theme. A story with a theme is one that tries to leave an underlining message -- subliminal message for the reader to grasp and apply (e.g. love conquers all, etc.). Morality in fiction is not really any different. Take the morality of 'love conquers all' and apply it a story. What you end up with is a theme with which the story is based. Morality is an artistic work that teaches a moral lesson according to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. If this is true then what is the difference between theme and morality, nothing. Plain and simple when someone attempts to subvert a story with their own ideas of morality, then they are playing god with the mind of the reader. Because morality in the story is so subtle, it is subliminal and therefore, dangerous. A means of invoking thoughts and prejudices, love and hate, right and wrong, but who among any writer has that responsibility. A story is just that. Nothing more than one persons idea of reality or un-reality (i.e. lack of reality). High school English or college writing, it doesn't matter, but wherever theme is taught it is an abuse of mankind’s free choice. The freedom to choose what is moral or not, the freedom to decide for themselves what is morality and what is immoral. To write a moralistic theme into a story is equivalent to artistic incest. Think about it.
Jon -- My morality wasn't in question, I don't have any doubts about it.
Originally posted Nov 9 1992, 10:59 am