I am paraphrasing from a friend’s Facebook wall her question:
“How would a teen-age boy who is going to work with his hands ever use Literature of England in his work?”
The age-old “How am I going to use this in real life?” question. How would you answer it?
Participants this week are writing some wonderful answers. For the sake of time, I’m going steal mine. From one of the writing craft books I’m working through (yes, it’s true, the answer to the question about reading is in … a book):
From The Anatomy of Story by John Truby:
Stories don’t show the audience* the “real world”; they show the story world. The story world isn’t a copy of life as it is. It’s life as human beings imagine it could be. It is human life condensed and heightened so that the audience can gain a better understanding of how life itself works.
*Note: The book is billed as a screenwriting book (hence the use of audience), but it applies to all types of stories.
Books, literature, stories teach us empathy. What’s that old saying? You never really know someone until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Literature lets us do that. Never mind cultural literacy, I believe reading can make us better people.
Plus, having a passing familiarity with the Western Canon means you don’t have to have people explain song lyrics to you.