So, it's that time again.
Inspired by a text from @MWollaeger and the work I'm doing writing a family holiday feature, I'd like to open the conversation again about this film.
So much is different with Dramatica then where it was a year ago. The Genre/Subgenre concept earlier in the Spring identified close to one-hundred separate "Personalities" of story. The Relationship Story Throughline is now about a relationship--any relationship--regardless of whether or not it includes both Main and Influence character.
And both advancements impact the analysis of this film.
Home Alone's personality is Holiday Comedy. Put that into Subtext and you find the Simpson's Christmas Special and The Santa Clause alongside Home Alone.
Neither finds the Overall Story in Mind. Neither features a Be-er Main Character.
In fact, if you asked me off the top of my head the storyform for an idea like Home Alone, I would easily respond with the Overall Story in Universe and a Main Character in Physics--from a Genre context. "Home alone" screams Universe, and Kevin slapping his face and learning to shop for himself is all about Learning.
This is very important because I don't think Genre is talked about much when it comes to analysis and Dramatica.
So much of what we identify as problematic is at the base level of character--and if you look at that bottom level you'll find fixed attitude-like elements in every domain: even the external ones.
Scope and resolution is of the utmost importance when looking to identify the source of imbalance in a narrative. Knowledge, Thought, Ability, and Desire exist at every level--the question is: what exactly are you looking for when you look to what is problematic?
A nasty fixed attitude could be Mind--if you're looking at Genre. Doubt or Twelve Angry Men comes easily to mind. Appraisal could easily be indicative of a problematic point-of-view--as could be Analysis, which exists in Physics.
Read the definition of Analysis, Appraisal, or even Evaluation and you would be hard pressed to find a difference--unless you knew exactly what you were looking for.
I've seen this come up numerous times in my work with hundreds of writers over the past four years--they ratchet it on one particular element or understanding, without taking into account the entire storyform and all its Storypoints. And what they all mean when placed together.
And I've seen it in myself as well. Which is why I'm calling out this one storyform--in particular, because it's used so many times to lead others into making the same assumptions I made two years ago when we did the original online analysis.
But all is not lost.
We were just focused on the particulars, rather than the Storymind as a whole.
All those things we came up for the storyform in terms of narrative can just as easily-and probably more accurately--be labeled as a Problem of Evaluation within the Domain of Universe under Attempt, rather than Mind under Doubt. Calling Kevin out, judgments, underestimating a child--those still work as instances of character motivation, but fit better with the overall purpose or Genre of a Holiday Comedy.
The Mind Domain for Overall Story and a Main Character in Psychology? That's Hamlet territory. That's Amadeus and A Separation and When Marnie was There. Not Home Alone.
Genre and Subgenre and Personality needs to be a part of the conversation during any analysis, because sometimes we can get caught up seeing the forest for the trees. Yes, fixed attitudes could be driving conflict in a story--but is that really a Genre-level concern? Or is it something more granular?
Balancing Genre with this obvious narrative Element of Evaluation, we find Old Man Marley in Conceiving. With Deficiency as an Issue. And Reduction as a Source of Drive.
What better way to describe an enigma now defined as a scary story--rather than a father estranged from his son? What better way to influence a child who focuses on the lack of what is there then an example of someone who suffers from the same?
The most important revelation of this new take, however, is the relationship between mother and the son--the true heart of Home Alone.
With the previous assumption that the Relationship Story was always the "emotional battleground" between Main and Influence Character, we were forced to find someway to shoehorn a "neighbors" relationship between Kevin and Marley.
Now, with the Relationship focused more accurately on the development and growth of an intimate bond between two, we easily see the driving force in the mother/son relationship.
We see stubbornness in Mind. We see inconsiderate words in terms of Conscious. And we see Doubt in light of their bond ever heading in the right direction.
More importantly we see Problem and Solution in the actual dialogue of the film:
I hope that you don't mean that. You'd feel pretty sad if you woke up tomorrow morning and you didn't have a family."
"No I wouldn't" answers Kevin.
"Then say it again. Maybe it will happen."
That's a Problem of Probability.
Kevin is in his parent's bed under the red covers with his green robe lying across the bed. He awakes and sees that it is snowing. It's Christmas morning.
"Mom!" shouts Kevin.
Kevin runs down stairs calling for his mother, but she's not there. He is alone in the big empty house, and he is disappointed. He opens the front door and looks outside at the snow. He closes the door and goes back inside of the house.
That's a Solution of Possibility in the relationship.
And it's solidified when Mom impossibly shows up a few minutes later.
As mentioned in my recent post about the living and breathing nature of what we do here is our own ability to Re-evaluate. Like Kevin, when we see things in a different light and are willing to re-appraise, we Learn differently.
That's why I suggest shifting to this new storyform, and recommend that both Genre and Subgenre become an important part of any future analysis.
This isn't dogma--we're not stuck in some dramatic Mind fixed attitude. We're on a fun adventure of discovery and enlightenment. We're learning how to approach narrative in a way that has never been done before throughout all of human history.
And that's pretty damn exciting.