Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Catechisms for the Imagination" N.D. Wilson on the Importance of Story

Do you read for fun?  N. D. Wilson explains it could be the actual reason is a lot more involved:
But the word fun is a simplistic label for what is actually a remarkable and complex experience.  Stories make people feel.  Stories (particularly novels) take control of and govern the imagination, causing readers to feel things on command.  Stories create empathetic and sympathetic bonds between readers and fictional characters, and those bonds are truly real.
Amen, Mr. Wilson!  Amen.  My husband and I have movies we return to again and again because we long to spend time with the characters: Return to Me, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Casablanca, Rio Bravo, Cinderella Man and several more.  There are books whose characters I consider friends (the Harry Potter series and To Kill a Mockingbird immediately come to mind).  There are movies we revisit because they make us think such as TransSiberian and Forest Gump (which uses comedy to explore serious topics).

Wilson speaks of the power of books to shape us:
Let a faithful author guide a child's imagination, and that child will learn (and feel) what it is like to be courageous, to stand against evil, to love what is lovely and honor what is honorable.  Hand them the wrong book, and they could learn to numb their own conscience, to gratify and feed darker impulses.  The wrong stories catechize imaginations with sickness.
I love Wilson's nonfiction books as I've stated over and over.  He is a best-selling children's fiction author and I am looking forward to reading those books as well.  Even in his nonfiction books, Wilson is a storyteller, creating characters and scenes vividly.  He and I are in disagreement over a couple of characters he mentions in the article.  I understand the best-selling 50 Shades of Grey began as fan fiction on a Twilight board and those issues are why I've always been Team Jacob, but I can see some redeeming elements in Edward Cullen, along with the horrid aspects Wilson points out.  I truly disagree with his characterization of The Hunger Games heroine Katniss, but I may be in the minority in Christian circles.

For fellow readers, enjoy this article and over Thanksgiving add one more thing to your list to thank the Lord for - the gift of story.

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