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Power of Story

In: English and Literature

Submitted By luvtosing8
Words 1579
Pages 7
I have to admit, going shopping for books can definitely be entertaining, but I must also confess that when it comes to buying books, I am a little bias toward novels with pretty pictures on the cover. Maybe it is because in today’s society we are taught to judge everything by appearance, but maybe it is really because growing up my dad read me books with lots of colorful images before bedtime and usually the prettier the pictures in the story the better it was. In books for younger kids most books contain extravagant images accompanied by a few simple words. The artist’s job for children’s books is, in my opinion, is more important than the author’s. I relied on the artist to tell the story, like Mozart relied solely on music to get across his story. When I started to move on to chapter books such as the Cam Jansen series, I would flip through the book, letting the pages fly underneath my thumb, and be disappointed at the lack of color. Not a single picture appeared. I thought that it was the worst thing in the world because it meant from then on I would be forced to read dull pages. Contrary to my initial thoughts, when I cracked open that first book I was unable to put it down until I finished. I was amazed at how I had just seen into another person’s mind and lived with a different identity for that hour. I was no longer Sam Maxwell, I was Cam Jansen the crime solver. I had my own private movie showing in my head. I read lots of Cam Jansen books following the first one and really enjoyed my new identity. Each time I read the first line of a new book, not only did a colorful picture appear, but a new universe was created! Bam, I had witnessed the Big Bang Theory. Suddenly reading no longer felt like an obligation but a vacation that I could visit whenever I wanted to escape from my house, only it did not cost hundreds of dollars nor require me to wait in line for an hour to get through a security check. Spiderman’s grandfather Ben once told him, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. While this statement is blatantly referring to Spiderman’s superhero powers, unfortunately those do not exist in our world, but we can still gain power through gaining knowledge. A key component of gaining knowledge is through literature. Through literature people can pass down and share their knowledge and wisdom that they have learned. Literature enhances our ability to make better decisions and helps us improve our lives as well as those around us, making us more valuable people. During the Holocaust, Nazi’s burnt thousands of books so people could not get any ideas from them and keep them from escaping to their vacation spot. Books can inspire and stir something inside people that can never be taken away. Someone cannot take away knowledge. Knowledge is a weapon that can be used for destruction at any time. In the novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Luo tries to educate the Little Chinese Seamstress by reading her books forbidden by Mao. To Luo’s surprise, she leaves Luo in the end of the novel all because of the knowledge she accumulated form the books. This is the exact reason Mao did not want his people to have access to any literature because it gives them a voice of their own which may conflict with his voice. He did not want people to have the “power” to defy the government. While the power of story lies in literature, it can also be found in movies as well. Movies have the power to inspire and tell stories in unique ways that books cannot. Movies can use sound, imagery, and tell the audience how they are supposed to feel based on the actor’s emotion. A movie plays out a picture for people whereas a book allows people to use their imagination to make their own movie. However, what movies do not offer is personal conclusions. Movies usually portray the director’s thoughts on a particular story versus a book is more open for interpretation. Books are also more personal. I can hold it and choose to move at my own pace or I can reread the same sentence as many times as I desire. While there is the option of rewinding a movie the line will always come out the same, versus a book which I can manipulate the line to be said in ten different ways and conclude the character’s intention for saying the line. After I finish a book, it saddens me that that journey is over so I usually have to go back and reread certain chapters to cheer myself up. When I finish I good movie I don’t feel the urge to watch it again for a while after. I think the reason I have this need is because of how personal a book becomes to me. It becomes my diary in a way because I feel all of the character’s emotion and deceivingly experience his or her experiences as if they were my own. After reading the hit novel Twilight in sixth grade I did not want to discuss it with anyone. I felt as though it were only written for and only affected me. When I heard other kids gushing about it in the halls I weirdly felt betrayed by the novel. At the time it felt like everyone had just read my diary and knew my innermost thoughts. Another weird thing tht I did was that I refused to watch the movie with anyone. I waited until it came out on On-Demand so I could watch it by myself. At the time, picturing myself going to the movie felt as though I was watching a reenactment of my diary. Thinking about seeing it with my friends seemed like them invading my privacy. The power of a book will top the power of a movie any day. Whenever movies are made about popular books I constantly hear the complaint that “the movie was good but it does not compare to the book”. Movies cannot capture certain details that a novel has the ability to. Movies rely on the actor’s facial expression to reveal the character’s thoughts whereas a book can state them directly from the character. The power of literature is more closely related to the power of story. Thinking back on listening to my dad reading me stories before bed, I realize now that it was a nice father-daughter bonding experience for the two of us. Even as I got older he continued this tradition by reading me the book “The City of Embers” and afterward we would discuss it in depth. Opening me up to subtle foreshadowing, hidden themes, and diction I never read books the same after that. I was more attentive to little details that I hadn’t previously noticed. I was so grateful that he discussed novels with me because it changed the way I read for the better. Recognizing these things made reading more challenging but forced me to expand on my thoughts and allowed me to fall further into the page. The more I read the more concepts I was able to grasp in the story. The more critical thinking I did for a novel the more complex my thoughts became in reality. Not only did I gain knowledge from critical thinking but simply from learning from the characters mistakes in a novel. It also helped me to grasp the concept ‘there’s two sides to every story’. Reading a book such as the Giver I got to see into the mind of someone who truly felt like an outsider and when I saw people sitting alone at lunch from that point on I felt their pain. I thought I knew what they were thinking too. One book had the power to change how I viewed certain people because I felt like I was the outsider when I read “The Giver” and it seemed as though it was part of my past for a while. The power of story can and has changed the world. It is something that will never be outdated no matter what happens with technology. It has the power to influence people for the better or for the worse; consequences are unknown until the “education” is complete. Like music, it has been around for centuries and will be around for centuries to come. There is an unspoken bond between people and stories. They are comforting, understanding, and always there for you when you need them. Reading a story is freeing, but with freedom comes responsibility. The Little Chinese Seamstress was freed by the stories, wisdom, and experiences she gained from them, but she then became burdened with a possible child that she had to figure out a way to get rid of. By leaving the town she was facing the world on her own and would have to fend for herself without the help of Luo, the narrator, or her father. Similar to the Little Chinese Seamstress, when I read a book I gain new knowledge and then am burdened with having to make good choices because I am wiser and understand the concept of good-decision making, so it is unfair to myself to not carry out good decisions.

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