Whether or not you’re weighed down by material possessions may depend on your perception of their usefulness as tools. I find value in tools that I haven’t used in four months, like Dr. Mindbender here, or even four years. Others may find hindrance with those older tools. Let’s explore the material perceptions of the main characters of “The Story,” since Trishna (left) grew up in a decently comfortable middle-class family and John starkly did not.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (backstory, general worldbuilding, and something sexy)
Trishna’s parents grew up in difficult environments, so when they settled on the Lanchester Farm to raise their kids, they worked to ensure their kids would not be forced into such harsh realities. Upon learning that their youngest would be born with physical impairments, they built out an accessibility-friendly bedroom for Trishna, complete with bathroom.
Trishna’s room is spacious enough for trinkets, mementos, and other goodies.
One example is a hand-me-down collection of maybe 30 action figures similar to G.I. Joes. This collection, which appeals to both girls and boys, includes a female character similar to Bombstrike that eventually inspires Trishna to consider her sexuality. She holds onto the collection mainly because of their ties to her growing up along with fitting in a shoebox.
Trishna also held onto every conversation she had with John before they met.
For the same reasons: space, memories, and convenience. The program or website they used to chat online before meeting in person easily archived everything. John wasn’t able to do this since he often times had to use library computers. He had no material possessions other than a change of clothing until about a year or two before “The Scene.”
That upbringing doesn’t necessarily mean John is opposed to materialism.
After all, one of the few possessions he has at the start of the narrative (referenced as “The Scene”) is a small plush gift for Trishna, which she immediately resonates with on a deep level. John’s gift becomes her second most prized possession, prominently sitting alongside her childhood plush toy, along with other objects that she holds in high regard.
John’s interpretation of materialism asks: does the object bring positive memories?
Upon arriving at the Lanchester Farm for their summer before college, Trishna’s parents heavily monitor their quality time. They spend their first few weeks together in person talking, reading through their conversation logs, talking about mementos like the aforementioned collection, and otherwise just getting to know each other.
Ultimately, though, both Trishna and John value experiences over objects.
Trishna is quicker to capture positive moments with mementos like photographs, notes, or objects than John. If only because John is more actively soaking up every moment and treasuring each nuance, perhaps thinking that it could all go away? Could surviving a rough upbringing still weigh down on him years later? I don’t know.
These weekly updates to “The Story” are tools, like both photos, to reveal these motivators.