Adam’s immoral action

I have a problem, I’ve started to get this nagging doubt that Adam’s actions aren’t going to work, they’re not proactive enough. The moral vision for the end of Carrion has Adam taking action against prohibition. He starts the screenplay a self-righteous policeman and ends a humbled rebel.

For this transformation to work, Adam can’t just take up arms against prohibition, he has to go through a series of actions that teach him the right way to act in the world. He has to take actions that teach him not only to resist prohibition but to fight it.

Structurally the problem can best be explained by paraphrasing John Truby. “In the early part of the story the hero is losing to the opponent. He becomes desperate. As a result he starts taking immoral actions to win. Other characters criticize the hero for the means he is taking. The hero defends his actions.”

I think what Truby means is only by taking immoral actions that fail can the hero learn the moral way to act. In trying to answer this problem I asked myself, what kind of immoral actions does Adam take? The answer can best be summed up as “not fighting back”. The actions he takes are immoral because it appeases prohibition.

Does the make Adam seem passive? What I’m struggling to reconcile is who Adam is at the beginning of the screenplay, and who he is at the end. The key seems to lay in his conflict with Reiner, a rampant prohibitionist who has killed his drug using daughter.

How does Adam deal with that moral dilemma?

He believes in the law so should arrest Reiner, but with the rabid hatred of drug users we’d be at the end of the screenplay before he’d begun. Alternatively the answer might lay in Adam’s desire to save Christine. Why does he want to save Christine? He wants to save her because she is his sister. Initially he thinks he’s saving her from herself, that’s why he arrests her, then from prohibition.

Alternatively a direct threat on Christine, by Reiner, would push Adam to take action, despite his overwhelming hostility to drug users. That way he’s not passive, appeasing prohibition, but taking positive action to save Christine.

The immoral action in the story world is his attempts to save a drug user.


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