dscn2136.JPGThe underdog motive has served as the heartbeat of many a legend, fairy tale, romance, comedy, adventure tale, action hero comic, and character-driven drama. For some reason, the story of the underdog has, for thousands of years, maintained universal appeal and will likely continue doing so.

“But why?” the compulsive thinker in me asks.

I have some theories. They are working ones at best so feel free to add your ideas.

Let me first define an underdog as someone who “has a desire or goal, has some ability in fulfilling or achieving that, but faces some odds that seem unlikely to be overcome.” There are at least three kinds of underdogs, each challenged by a different obstacle.

  1. Underdogs impeded by natural limits
  2. Underdogs impeded by unjust treatment
  3. Underdogs impeded by natural limits AND unjust treatment

I think every self-aware person in the world finds him or herself in one of these situations in real life (or maybe perversely, as a fantasy). Hence, there is an underdog in each of us. The appeal is that we subconsciously root for ourselves. Maybe we even subconsciously hope there are others rooting for us.

(I do not personally know of anyone who has never had underdog sympathies. In fact, I might consider such a person to be arrogant and utilitarian.)

Some other words that come to mind regarding the appeal of the underdog are: vision, justice, and victory. Anyways, I will flesh these out later. Going out to enjoy the sunshine today!

Advertisements