Ian Appleby is entirely right when he suggests that it does not diminish a story when we try to understand its ideological and philosophical messages. Stories are wonderful ways of capturing ideas and taking us through them: if you think, as I do, that empathy is one of the most outstanding and underrated of intellectual faculties then you cannot but see stories as a vital form of communication. Understanding those stories means understanding the empathetic impact that they have on one- and means also understanding the world view out of which they come. For example I am not a radical Catholic, but Robert Bresson's films have taught me a lot about a certain strain within the modern church. Occasionally a story can expose a darkness in a contemporary attitude- Quentin Tarrentino's films expose for me a darkness in the way that people empathise in our society for example. You may not agree with my examples- but the central fact remains true, stories change us and propel us, we need to understand what they propel us to- what sympathies they create. We need to understand that, both so that we can understand ourselves and so that we can understand each other.