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The Storytelling within “Normal People”

“Normal People” is a novel written by Sally Rooney that was made into a series by Hulu. The story follows Marianne and Connell from their senior year of high school through their early twenties. The two form a secret relationship that proves to be more than either of them could have excepted. As the years go on the two of them get into new relationships with new people but still keep finding their way back to each other. The story is an emotional journey that really makes you feel like you are in this relationship with these. two people. I hadn’t known that it was book until after I had watched the show, and once I finished the show I knew I had to read it. Currently I am rewatching the show while also reading the book. After the first episode I was hooked.

I think what draws me to the story so much is the emotion of all of it. It’s just so heart wrenchingly raw and real. With every scene and line you can feel the tension between these two characters and their feelings towards each other, even when they are with other people. It also makes you think about the phrase “right person, wrong time”. I think most people have felt that about someone at some point in their lives. It’s interesting to me that this story takes place while these characters are between the ages of 18-22. I think during these years in your life you’re trying to become the person you think you’re supposed to be. You’re so heavily influenced by the people and things around you as you venture into the world by yourself for the first time. You start realizing that the things you thought were so important when you were in high school don’t matter at all. In high school Connell was so concerned with what others would think if they found out he had been sleeping with Marianne because no one at school really liked her. Eventually Connell finds out they people had known and they didn’t care, he realizes he fucked up. One of the most important lessons I think we learn in life is that everyone is so preoccupied with themselves. that no one is paying attention to you or what you’re doing.

Letting go is always hard, especially when you find yourself constantly letting go of someone you cared for. Sally Rooney does a stand up job of pulling in the reader and viewer by having the characters dialogue be very frank and short with each other most of the time and having their body language towards each other speak the words that they can’t seem to. She has created this world in which we feel like we are almost looking into the lens of our own lives and reliving all the feelings we felt when letting go of someone. Love is such a human emotion and how people express it and deal with it is different for everyone. What is the same however is that we feel a sense of emptiness when that person is gone. Once you get used to them being gone it can be difficult to see them again and not have all those old feelings come up and then you find yourself back to square one, you are just stuck in this constant cycle. Thats’s what Marianne and Connell find themselves in.

I would consider “Normal People” to be one of my biggest inspirations when writing. Not just in the romantic relationships aspect, but just in the way we portray emotions and feelings. Sally Rooney creates such a detailed and specific relationship between these two people, yet an audience still feels this connection and draw to it. I think it’s because we all know what love and loss are. Whether it unrequited love or mutual love, we’ve all felt it. When the love is unrequited, that feeling of loss is only enhanced. When I write I script I focus on writing a story I know that I would be interested in watching play out on screen. I think the more raw you write the more likely an audience is to connect to a story and the characters in it. We are so often used to seeing love stories with happy endings play out on screen but that is not reality, love is complicated and so is life, and I believe “Normal People” portrays this complexity between these two things brilliantly.

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