The great Canadian writer, Margaret Laurence, said that all writers were moralists. Expanding on that bold statement, I think all writing has a moral context. Without a moral context there would be no character, no plot; no beginning, no end.
This is a story without morality: A man is born and then he dies. If I change the story to say: A man was born, got married and died, I’m putting a value on “getting married.” A man was born, made a lot of money and died. Perhaps, it’s clearer there.
I don’t think it’s bad to be a moralist. We make moral judgments all the time. “So and so had an affair and his partner is divorcing him.”
This gets tricky and I see problems in it. The kind of moralist we don’t want to be is one who makes moral judgments based on preconceived ideas. In our culture, the word moralist has a negative connotation to it.
What’s your opinion? Are writers moralists?
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