In each of the stories below, the area of greatest concern for everyone in the story seems to be appreciating the meaning of something (OS Concern: Understanding). This also happens to define the nature of the main story's Goal and gives an idea as to what every character will be working towards or away from. In a general sense, the Overall Story Concern simply helps focus every character on the story's central conflict.
Nora makes certain that Mrs. Linde understands she is not a superficial creature, but a strong woman who used her intelligence and wit to save her husband’s life; Krogstad is concerned that Mrs. Linde understand the desperate lengths he had to go to in the past; Dr. Rank informs Nora when he sends one of his cards with a black cross upon it, she is to understand the process of death has begun for him; Torvald cannot understand what he considers is Nora’s betrayal; and so forth.
Marchbanks is concerned with Candida appreciating him, and knowing he understands her; he cannot understand how the object of his desire can love a windbag like Morell; Marchbanks understands Proserpine is in love with Morell:
“Marchbanks: Ah! I understand now.
Proserpine (reddening): What do you understand?
Marchbanks: Your secret. Tell me: is it really and truly possible for a woman to love him?” (Shaw, 1895, p. 518).
Candida laughingly tells Morell that Marchbanks “understands you; he understands me; he understands Prossy; and you, darling, you understand nothing” (Shaw, 1895, p. 530).
Lucy must grasp the fact she is pregnant; Fred and Ethel understand they will be the godparents; Lucy tries to make Ricky understand he is a father; Ricky understands managing a club is problematic; and so forth.
Everyone is concerned with understanding the meaning of the spatial anomaly as well as Picard’s time-shifting. The past Enterprise crew is also concerned with understanding their new captain’s erratic orders.
An example of how the objective characters are concerned with “understanding” is illustrated in the minor character of the count: “I have been around a very great deal. . . . I have seen a lot, too. I have been in seven wars and four revolutions . . . it is because I have lived very much that now I can enjoy everything so well . . . . That is the secret. You must get to know the values” (59-60). Brett asks: “Doesn’t anything ever happen to your values?” The count replies: “No, not anymore” (61). Another example is illustrated by the character of Mike Campbell. He chooses not to learn about finances, because he understands what he can get away with by not doing so. He appreciates that his allowance will continue to come through, and that there will always be an “easy touch” wherever he goes. There is also a strong implication that he knows Brett will eventually be back: “She never has any money. . . .She gave it all to me when she left” (230).