This post isn’t about abortion, but there’s a story about abortion in it. I read somewhere on the internet about a married, pro-choice woman who got pregnant. She and her husband decided they weren’t ready for a child, so she went to the abortion clinic. While sitting there, she surprised herself by realizing that she believed the life growing inside her was a baby and she couldn’t kill it. She left. Because she didn’t get the abortion, her husband divorced her. Now she’s remarried and is pro-life.
What I think is interesting about this story is that it illustrates a particular aspect of the psychology of decision making. Our subconscious mind has its own beliefs and ideas that, for the most part, it keeps to itself. Only when our conscious mind decides to do something it really doesn’t like does it step up and make itself known. I’ve had a few of these experiences of my own (which I don’t feel like sharing at the moment).
If you know me and my theories about story structure, you know that I believe the moments where characters make decisions are the key, and I think these moments when the subconscious over-rules the conscious and surprises the character are the most interesting. When Tris decides to join Dauntless in Divergent, I think it was one of those kinds of decisions and it is one of the most memorable moments in that book for me.
If anyone knows another example of this kind of decision, I’d be interested to hear about it.