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Telling stories has been an innate human drive since the beginning—since Adam relayed to
Eve that G-d had told him not to eat from the tree of knowledge1
. Walter Fisher, a 20th century
philosopher, proposed that all meaningful communication is a form of storytelling, of narrative—
that “humans are essentially storytellers2
.” We see stories being told in all aspects of the human
experience: from teachers in the classroom describing the Civil War to a millennial anxiously
texting her friend the latest boy drama. Storytelling, in fact, is so much a part of who we are and
what we do as humans that it is often hard to pinpoint what exactly it means to be telling a story.
One area in which it is especially crucial to analyze the power of a complex narrative is that of a
legal battle. In this arena, the details and nuance of a story can drastically alter the trajectory of a
person’s life. Perhaps this is nowhere more important than in a custody case. We need only recall
the oldest recorded case to realize the significance of narrative and the many shades of gray a
custody case contains: