Although reading might seem a passive activity which involves neither dialogue, nor merely retelling the story, it is totally active, both involving intensive brainwork and considerable analysis. Because of people’s ability to make the characters of the book live their own life, the latter become a part of the reality, jumping out of the book pages. There is much more to it than merely turning pages over.
Reading the stories of the far-away time, one can feel the way the fiction and the reality get intertwined. The two worlds merge into a weirdly shaped work of arts, the whole life squeezing to the size of a page. Because of the authors’ incredible manner of writing, stories become so convincing that the reader starts believing them himself.
Either because of the work of people’s imagination, or because of the genius of the writers, people believe in what they read, which makes them live the life of a story character. This is what makes the process if reading active and turns into an exciting journey. It is not only that people find something out as they read; one had better say that people live through what they read. All this makes people’s attention and participation in the story completely obvious.
Faulkner in his Rose for Emily takes the audience through the tragedy of Emily Grierson’s life. With his unique concise and sharp manner he tells bare facts, yet the reader’s imagination makes the latter stand in Emily’s shoes.
“People in our town, remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last, believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were. None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such.” (Kennedy 34)
Faulkner pushes the reader to thinking about the fate of the unknown woman and of the world in which she lived. Trying to understand her motives and her way of thinking, the reader starts taking active participation in the narration, which means that the reader is acting together with the lead character – or it would be better to say, together with the author.
Hawthorn’s Young Goodman Brown is another example of a story breaking into people’s lives. This is the ultimate proof that reading is no less active than talking to a person, for the reader feels the pulse if the story and breathes in unison with the leading character. As Goodman loses the remaining of his faith, the reader’s heart breaks together with his one, and the tragic experience of the young man leaves its trace on the readers’ hearts as well.
Poe, with his mystique and blood-chilling stories taking people to the depth of their hearts, created the stories which prove the idea of rewarding reading.
Once plunging into the dark waters of his wild fantasy, one will never be the same. Owing to the incredibly artful style of his, the atmosphere of his books pierces the reader right through. Like the rest of his works, The Tell-Tale Heart sends shivers down the reader’s spine. The first-person narration makes the impressions ever greater, adding to the feeling that the whole story is taking place in reality.
There is no doubt that reading involves an element of analysis and critical thinking. Because of the work of both logics and imagination, people are being active while reading the story, as if they were discussing it, retelling it, or even acting in it. Making people focus in the details and think the story over and over again, reading suggests more than merely a pleasant pastime. Reading books can be compared to tasting a delicacy; once you have learnt the flavour of the exquisite dish, you cannot help recollecting it again and again.
Kennedy, Joseph Charles and Dana Gioia. Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Longman, 2010. Print