What is fiction has been defined as a tale presenting a picture of a real life, especially of the emotional crises in the life-history of the men and women portrayed in it. The story may be either real or fictitious, but the characters depicted in the story are placed in an imaginary situation which helps to develop their mental traits. It is also called novel, because at the time when it first appeared in the field of literature it was a novel or new kind of composition.
Why Fiction Is Always Linked With Novels
Ever since its appearance there has been going on a controversy as to the desirability of studying fiction. There are some who decry the reading of novel and regard it as absolutely useless, if not positively harmful. They say that it presents a distorted and sentimental view of life in which love plays the most prominent part. And the love depicted there is often between unmarried persons and is at times no better than mere animal passion.
The reading of such a stuff, especially at the impressionable stage of life, is very harmful and therefore should be eschewed by young men. Moreover, these novels often present a distorted, one-sided and misleading picture of life which leads astray young men who have not the requisite experience to check and find out the fallacy. Hence, if novels are at all to be read, they ought to be read when one has gained stability of character and when the mind is stocked with a sufficient experience of the ways of the world. They also hold that the habit of reading novels gives a distaste for serious study. It takes away the capacity for following a close argument, destroys concentration of mind and engenders a love of sensationalism. Such is the indictment of novel-reading by some persons.
Others, on the contrary, hold that though excessive fondness for novel-reading at the cost of other kinds of serious literature is not desirable, yet the study of fiction is not the unalloyed evil which it has been represented Lo be. The very fact that some of the greatest minds of the world have chosen to express themselves in this form of literature should make men pause before indulging in such a sweeping condemnation of this form of literary composition. Are we to think that men like Hardy, Dickens, Dumas, D’ Annunzio, Bourget, Bjorson and Bojer are all bent upon undermining the morals of young men? Further, it should be remembered that undiluted evil cannot last long in the world. But novels—at least English novels, are flourishing for the last two hundred years; and two hundred years is a sufficiently long time for men to form a correct judgment. If the universal voices of mankind had chosen lo condemn it, where could it have got its nourishment for growth?
What Is Fiction And The Use of Fiction In Novel Reading
Therefore, it must have some redeeming features which constitute the uses of novel-reading. The first and the most obvious use of novel-reading is amusement of recreation. Life is not all work. Labour and rest are the order of nature. Trees bloom and bear fruits are take rest, storms blow and cease, man works and sleeps. In the Bible it is said even of God that He created the world for six days and took rest on the seventh day. Hence recreation is a vital necessity to man. Novel-reading gives this recreation lo a tired brain and a jaded body. You are a scholar bent on deciphering the mysteries of antiquity. You are a mathematician busy with the naughty problems of mathematics. No doubt these studies have fascination for you. But days in and days out you are engaged in the same round of work,—in the same groove. Your brain reels. Variety is the spice of life, and you turn from your serious occupation to light reading and enjoyable diversion.
You take up a novel. It amuses you without taxing your attention, you are a man of action—a successful business man, always busy with the exchange and the rise and full of markets, running up and down the mart, you are a sailor turning wheels and climbing masts. Your tired body requires some rest and you turn to a novel. You find a new charm there which is not in life. A new vista coloured with imagination is opened up to you. ll has been said that a fiction has no business to exist unless it is more beautiful than reality. And it is this new beauty that soothes your mind and body. But a novel has a higher use than mere recreation.
What Is Fiction do, It widens our sympathies and enlarges knowledge of mankind.
Maybe nature is conservative. He moves hin narrow circles, the circles of his friends and relatives, caste or “. His sympathies are confined to them. His talks, his views are all subscribed by his way of life. An engineer will always talk of gibbering plans and a professor talk of his college or university or ch other allied topics. Neither is it the privilege of all men to have a der experience of life. From this narrowness and self-complacency e reading of novel saves us. In its broad canvas are painted characters and situations which we have not the privilege to meet in ordinary actual life. If we had not seen them there, we should perhaps ve no idea of them at all.
As we see them and read the inner working of their heart, we begin to understand them and sympathies with their life. We see the infinite varieties which human character assumes and realise the different motives which are the springs of lion. Take for example , the character of Idiot in Dostoevsky’s novel of the same. The super-sensitiveness of the character is a new g and perhaps would never have been known to us if it had not been painted in the pages of that novel. Or take the character of Jean vezin in “Les Miserables”. By reading such characters our outlook is broadened and sympathies are widened.
Fiction Warns Us Against The Pitfalls of Life
Novels also warn us against the pitfalls of life and thus put us on our guard. The temptations and dangers of life are painted there vividly and we learn more from them than from mere dry abstract teachings. The manner in which those characters have fought against adverse circumstances, the way in which they have made or marred their life have a thrilling interest for the reader. The lessons thus learnt in the pages of a fiction are easily applied to our own cases when we are placed in similar situations. Thus novels serve as a guide in life.
Sometimes novels are written with a purpose. The modern English dramas and some of the present-day novels are of this type. Galsworthy’s dramas deal with contemporary life with its abuses and draw-backs and his novels also have the same scope. They are written for exposing social, political or religious abuses that need removal or reform. They have a propagandist aim. The reading of such novels awakens and stimulates our moral sensibility. A powerfully written novel, by awakening our sympathies has more influence than newspaper articles or long speeches by orators. In the novels of H.G. WeLLs and Bernard Shaw, we get a picture of the tangle of the social conditions of modern times and a suggestion of the reform; and these affect people more powerfully than speeches of social or political reformers.
What Is Fiction,Why Fiction Is Always awaken Our Moral Sensibility And Illuminates The Histroy
Lastly, novel is a handmaiden to history. It illuminates dry history and makes it clear intelligible and interesting. What is a mere jumble of dates and names in the pages of history, becomes real and living in a novel. Historical novels thus assist us in understanding history and make it graphic. The beginning of the French Revolution is extremely complex and puzzling, but how interesting and graphic it has become in dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities”, Scot’s “Old Mortality though a romance, gives us a better idea of the Highlander’s struggle than any history of the period. In this way a story or novel supplements history and suggests that the two words are at bottom on and the same.
When novels have so many uses, it is not very wise to banish them altogether. They are excellent recreations and help us in man;* ways. But care should always be taken that we do not make make novel reading the sole business of our life. That is bad, kept in its proper sphere, it helps man in many ways. So the scathing condemnation of novel-reading with which the essay is begun and which is so often heard in the mouth of puritans is not at all justified it is the use which we make of a thing that practically determines its goodness or badness. Nothing by itself is good or bad.