First, to clarify, the term "body" references the bulk of a work of literature and is not an allusion to the how many odd pounds of flesh, muscle, and bone that happen to house the human soul. In short, I speak of written text and not human anatomy.
There are many functions for the body of a work of literature. One of those main functions is character development and nuance. Generally, many of the main characters are introduced in the first several chapters, although this is certainly not always the case. It would be theoretically possible to read only the first several chapters and the conclusion of a work and get a very general sense of what happened in-between. However, the end result would be a disturbing lack of satisfaction and a fundamentally shallow understanding. The body of any text is there for a reason, to better inform the reader and allow he or she to develop a relationship with the characters and story-line. Each part of the body is crafted to guide the reader into a better understanding of each character's feelings, personality, and experience, as well as the overall theme. When the conclusion of any work is reached, it is as if the reader has taken a journey with each character and emerged better and more aware of human experience as a result.
The body of our lives is very similar to the body of a text. It is where we find ourselves, develop relationships with others, and learn about what purpose and meaning really entail. Major and minor characters pass through our lives, some merely remembered for one solitary conversation, others for years of investment and shared tears. Yet, all somehow significant in their influence.
There are peaks and valleys, highs and lows. But, just as in literature, it seems the deepest understanding stems from the times of suffering and heartbreak. Such times are what make us able to relate to the other characters that enter our lives, humanity understood through similar experience.
A good literary work is infused with artistic unity that leaves no fact insignificant. The author crafts and forms each section to cry testimony to his overarching purpose. The Author of Life crafted His story in the very same way. Every individual witnesses the glory and purpose of the Author through all He has created. This can be seen just as equally in a full and crimson sunrise or a beautiful and chaotic gale.
Yet, the difference, is that in the story of life individuals are given the choice to follow the Author's plan or to reject it. If indeed there is an Author of Life, it would only make sense to reason that entity would have a purpose for such a creation and that those involved in His story would find their ultimate calling and fulfillment when they are in right relationship with the author.
At some point, I will continue with a post on endings in literature and life. But, there may be some random interspersing of other material between that time and this. Or there may not be.