For a quote about how writing is thought-provoking, this is pretty darn thought-provoking, which, I guess, proves his point. But we expect poetry to be thought-provoking. We don’t normally think of general fiction as thought-provoking. Oh, sure. Books like Animal Farm and 1984 were written to jar people’s perceptions. But those are classics. The books that people read most of the time, they’re written to entertain, not make you think, right?
Then, you start thinking about books you’ve read and how they’ve affected you.
- Did Ender’s Game make you think about how we deal with bullying, how schools are set up, what makes an enemy, or even whether the end justifies the means?
- Did The Lord of the Rings make you think about nations working together, about how greed corrupts, about trained prejudices, or perhaps about how trauma can have lingering affects?
- Did any Stephen King book make you think about human frailty and powerlessness? Did it make you want to lock your doors while at the same time make locking them at all seem pointless? (But I digress)
Part of what makes a book great is its power to seem real when you read it. Even when set in a fantasy world or some futuristic society, there have to be elements that we can relate to. And any time there are elements of reality, there will be the potential for inspiring thought – whether or not that was the author’s intention at all.
But that’s good, right? After all, I don’t think it would hurt our society to think more. Do you?