What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?
Hegel mentions the concept of reconciliation. When a painter paints a portrait, they must reconcile themselves to the subject of the portrait. I felt that if Schutz had proposed to actually make a painting of Emmett Till, proposed a reconciliation with him rather than a photograph of his suffering, that people would have been more open to it.
Tragedy, called a more exalted kind of consciousness, is so called because it makes us aware of what the character might have been. But to say or strongly imply what a man might have been requires of the author a soundly based, completely believed vision of man's great possibilities. As Aristotle said, the poet is greater than the historian because he presents not only things as they were, but foreshadows what they might have been. We forsake literature when we are content to chronicle disaster.
Maybe stories, fiction or not, give solace, context, possibility, as much with their stable, recurring forms as with their infinitely various contents, and thereby produce examples of lives shaped, framed so they are recognizably distinguishable from emptiness, from darkness that seems always to surround and render lives unseeable.