For some reason, the movie Short Circuit popped into my head this morning.
It got me to thinking about context. As in, so much of the way we learn is by getting things in the proper (or improper) context. For example, as babies, we learn words by associating the word to the thing. It could be food, like a banana, or a cat or the sun or whatever. We learn the word through that contextual association.
How different it was for Number 5 to learn about the world through television. Some things didn’t make sense, at least in how Number 5 imitated them and others did. How crushing a bug made disassemble equate to death.
How often do you have characters in your story struggle to understand something because they don’t have the background to get it? Another great example of that very thing is the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Picard is trying to communicate with a Tamarian captain. The problem is, the Tamarian language is metaphorical. Without the shared experience, it is impossible to understand each other.
What a wonderful opportunity to learn about a character – basically what they don’t understand is as important as what they do. That misunderstanding could be cultural, gender-related, species-related or due to any of a number of differences. Think about the fun you could have with it.
I know, I’m going to give that a try in one of my upcoming stories about Champ McKay, Texas Space Ranger.