Since my course is just beginning,we had a kind of introductory lecture today about what literature means to us etc. etc. One interesting question that our professor asked us was if we have ever laughed,cried,felt pain,joy,anger,depression or any such emotion while reading any particular book.
Some of my classmates said they did cry or laugh out loud sometimes and some said they have never had such an experience.When I had to answer I said that even though I had never actually cried I do feel a strong sadness or depression with respect to the character or happiness when something good happens.
So when some of my friends answered that they have had no such experience I wondered how it was possible to actually read something and not feel anything about the situations in the story or the circumstances through which the characters are going? I guess it would depend on the person who is reading the story.
I always imagine whatever scene I am reading and when you do that you have to “feel” for the character.At least,that is what I think.This question led to the discussion about the impact a book has on one’s mind.When you watch a movie,for eg,you think about the plot for some time,enjoy the comedy,feel the sadness-all in that span of two or three hours.But when you read a book,the characters stay with you for days or months and if its a particularly good book,then even for years.
As I said in class today,when I read one of Khaled Hosseini’s books(The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns) I feel sad for the characters,I wonder about what kind of a life they are living and I also think if people really go through something like this in life.Or when I read a book which ends in a ‘happily ever after’ that happiness stays with me for sometime,it makes me happy to think that inspite of everything,there is a chance at happiness.
Or if I am to talk about Harry Potter(it has the potential of an entire post,maybe some other time).The Harry Potter series has that kind of an impact in my life,atleast(and I know quite a few people who would say the same).I mean when you read about Harry’s parents,his friendship with Ron and Hermione,Voldemort’s past,Dumbledore’s,Sirius’ and Snape’s deaths,Umbridge’s cruelty-I could go on and on and on-it makes some kind of difference to the way you think about things.It makes you realize the importance of so many things in your life:family,friendships,truth,courage,the importance of good over evil.
A good piece of literature,be it a novel,a play, a poem or anything else,has that ‘impact’ on our lives.Even if sometimes we may not realize it.I am sure most of you would agree but there will be some who probably won’t.For me a good book is something I will relate to,something that will allow me to glimpse a part of the world about which I am not aware.And a good book to me also means something that will make me think about what lesson I can take from it.
Literature has a different effect on different people,as do so many things in life.I remember one of my professor’s favourite lines here,he always says ‘It’s a matter of perspective’.
Until the next post.