Of Loyalty, Trust, and Betrayal

by RS on March 18, 2013

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about loyalty oaths. Simply defined it is “an oath of loyalty to an organization, institution, or state of which an individual is a member.”

Loyalty oaths have been around since the Civil War and were common during World War II. Even Roosevelt had them to support his NRA programs. Truman instituted a Loyalty Program that required loyalty oaths and background checks on individuals that might have belonged or associated with organizations like the CPUSA or others that were considered anti-Democratic.

The notion of loyalty runs deep in Julius. When I first started writing this post it was with the idea of providing more of Corinne’s and her grandparents’ backstory, but then there was this sudden whack on the back of my head that led to an epiphany about the theme of the story.

For the longest time I thought it was about self-discovery, but there was something there that didn’t seem to ring true and then I saw it in this latest analysis. It was right in the prologue; in black and white. It wasn’t at all about self-discovery, but about loyalty, trust, and betrayal.

According to James Scott Bell in Plot and Structure:

 Themes deepen fiction, but you must be aware of a common danger. It is tempting for a writer to take a theme and force a story into it. The result is a host of problems, including cardboard characters, a preachy tone, a lack of subtlety and story clichés.

How can you avoid these novel killers? Here is one simple rule to remember: Characters carry theme.

Develop your characters fully and then set them in the story world where their values will conflict with each other. Allow your characters to struggle naturally and passionately. Theme will emerge without effort.

So it appears that I actually did something right after all.

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