The fiction of relationship – Week 1 assignment (Brown / Coursera)


Instructions: Respond to the following in your own words. Your response should be a single paragraph of 75-150 words. 

Paying close attention to the common dictionary definitions when talking about both ‘fiction’ and ‘relationship’ write a paragraph asking yourself this question: what is the ‘fiction of relationship’? How can one define the dimensions of this phrase? Is it a paradox? As you see it, what bearing does this phrase have on the experience of our encounter with others, the others we find not only in life but in the literature we read?


Wikipedia quotes fiction as an imaginary work of art, invented by an author [1]. Relationships on the other hand may seem real, though hardly tangible as a notion. Relationships can be interpersonal [2] or intrapersonal, leading to self reflection and awareness.

One wonders, to what extend should we allow for fictitious literature to portray the reality of relationships? Fiction might be giving the reader a mere interpretation, yet we do seem to covet the author’s  personal view on human interactions; perhaps it is through his/her imagination we attempt to explain our own insecurities or fears for the “others” – even for ourselves – endlessly trying to delve into the hero’s or heroine’s role. Every self-proclaimed literature enthusiast feels at least once the urge to identify oneself with a fictional character.

We quote fiction as artistic – a fabric of creative imagination –  but isn’t life itself a form of dynamic art? To me, attempting to understand human relationships requires a bit of fiction or at least some source of poetic / dramatic inspiration. Fiction is the truth inside the lie [3] concerning relationships.



  1. “Fiction.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 July 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <;
  2. “Relationship.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 May 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <;.
  3. King, Stephen. ““Fiction Is the Truth inside the Lie.”.” Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 June 2013. <;. Quotable Quote.

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