Literary Thought of the Week: Think the Thoughts You Should Think by Thinking Them for Yourself



Every week, if the Fates allow it, I will be bringing you thoughts straight from the mind of a friend, an avid reader, and a fellow (or not so fellow) English major. Namely, me. This column is not about what you should be thinking. This column is to get you thinking. Often, we don’t see past the page when it comes to the books we read, the characters we encounter, or the various literary sins committed in a single piece of work. Okay, maybe that last part is more subjective and quite negative, but it is important to form a mindset around literature that forces you to come up with your own opinions. By opinions I don’t mean being on only one side of an argument. What I am saying is we need to be able to say more about a piece than just, “I liked it.” What was it that you liked? Why did you like it? What did it remind you of? (The same formula goes for disliking something).

I feel that many of us perceive the questions stated above as too analytical or academic for leisurely reading. The questions we ask ourselves about a book do not have to be difficult, but we must ask something. If we do not ask questions we will never have answers. Without answers, we will forever be confused. (At least if we know we cannot find the answer we seek, we are conscious that we are confused, therefore, becoming enlightened).

All genres of literature hold some special answer to these questions that arise within us. Horror shows us what we are afraid of. Romance shows us what we are guilty of. Mystery shows us what our minds are capable of. These are but a few of the numerous genres that exist in the universe, allowing us to discover truths about ourselves and the world around us.

With all of this in mind I bring my first thought to a close, like the closing of a door, left unlocked to be accessed when the time is needed. We should never discard our thoughts, but put them on hold. So until next week, keep on asking questions and continue on the quest for answers. If you have anything specific and appropriate, mind you, that you would like me to give an opinion on please leave it in the comment section below.

Written by: Gabriella Zeller

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