The Fault in Our Fiction

Meg Peterson, Editor In Chief

You fought in the Hunger Games.  You lived through the French Revolution with Jean Valjean (Vive la
France!).  You explored Dracula’s castle and drove a stake through his heart.  You fought Kronos with Percy Jackson.  Indisputably, reading is one of the most magical things we experience as human beings.  Think about it.  Alan Bennett said, “A book is a device to ignite the imagination.”  Today, there is no shortage of books to be read.
But the fact of the matter is that Dracula is not literature.  The Fault in Our Stars is not literature.
Divergent is certainly not literature.  Percy Jackson is not literature.  50 Shades of Grey is most definitely not literature.  As exclusively grotesque or fantastically entertaining as these books are, they don’t qualify as true literature.  Before you burn me in effigy, let me explain.
Most rampantly popular books of our day are not literature; they are entertainment.  And as
entertainment, they are fabulous.  There is nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in a fast-paced
John Grisham novel.  But true literature is more than entertainment.  Literature extends further than the plot.  Contrary to many contemporary books, literature conveys a message through the plot.
For example, as humorous as Dickens’s characters are, A Tale of Two Cities wasn’t just a story
about an old man who used to be imprisoned in Bastille.  A Tale of Two Cities is about love as sacrifice
and the incredible capacity of human nature.  Similarly, Jane Eyre wasn’t just a 19th century version of a Nicholas Sparks novel.  Jane Eyre is about doing what is right even when it destroys your entire life.  To Kill a Mockingbird was a commentary on the hypocrisy of Lee’s society, not a sweet, young girl’s
childhood memories.
While there is nothing wrong with entertainment, it should not consume your reading.  There is
a reason the ‘classic’s have remained classics through the years.  More than just a good story, literature
can change your views of the world, the way you approach situations, and the way you think about
others.  Improve yourself.  Read a book that means something.