Something that happens more in fiction than in reality is the hero delivering a noble speech that makes everyone else see how wrong they've been. Whether the hero is marshaling facts, charisma, or both, this eye-opening oration turns the tide.
When I studied communication
in grad school, one of the more fascinating issues we discussed was the
question of whether persuasive texts ever change readers' minds.
According to the research at the time, people's pre-existing opinions
actually tended to be reinforced after reading something, whether the text's author was arguing for or against that opinion.
(If the text was in opposition to their beliefs, they would strengthen
their own opinions by searching for loopholes and counter-arguments as
There only seemed to be a short window during which
people had opinions that could be swayed in one direction or the other.
After that, attitudes, once formed, tended to harden.
this is a simplification with variations and exceptions. But it mirrors
what I've seen out in the world. And it makes sense--if we could just tell people to change, then changing the world would be a lot simpler!
can be a challenge for fiction writers because story is all about
change. But it suggests that perhaps our characters' changes need to
come about through outward experiences or inner insights rather than
persuasive words by others. Pondering ...