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07/04/2018

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Hunter Renard

Hello. Jonathan Gottshall is an American literary critic specializing in literature and evolution. He teaches at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, as well as he is the author or editor of seven books.
"We are addicted to stories. Even when our body is asleep, the mind is awake all night, telling stories to itself. "
In some ways, he's right. We write our stories every day, but we do not really think about it. After all, as we behave with people today, we can hang around tomorrow or a little later. All the problems that we do not want to solve ourselves, then they'll go down on us like a lump. Moreover, at each age the perception of the same problems is different. For example, a student experiencing difficulty with writing research papers considers this a big problem. And their writers http://essaymap.org/research-paper/ solve it at a time.
So what prevents us from becoming the author of our life, the one we write ourselves and how we dream? Live now, enjoy every moment. After all, as the wise King Solomon said, "Everything will pass" ...

B. Tropper

In his essay “Why fiction is good for you,” Jonathan Gottschall makes a compelling case that fiction helps develop human character. He argues that, “while fiction often dwells on lewdness, depravity, and simple selfishness, story tellers virtually always put us in a position to judge wrongdoing, and we do so with gusto” (Gottschall). Furthermore, he points out that fiction is dominated by poetic justice and that, “…fiction generally teaches us that it is profitable to be good” (Gottschall). Taking his argument to the next level he argues profoundly, that fiction can be more effective than nonfiction in shaping character. When we read nonfiction we are guarded, critical, and skeptical, and so the lesson may not penetrate. In contrast, when absorbed in a story of fiction we drop our intellectual guard and are moved and inspired emotionally. Notwithstanding the strength of his argument, ultimately factual accounts of real heroes and true displays of character and virtue have the power to strengthen and inspire the human spirit far more than fictitious ones. When confronted with real-life challenges a person needs real-life examples to guide him. “If he could do it I could do it;” a fictional hero is insufficient. I could learn from my grandfather’s persistence to be persistent. I could learn from my uncle’s integrity to be honest. I can learn from my mother’s compassion to be kind. Fictional heroes are wonderful and perhaps useful in cultivating values and shaping character, but in real-life moments of conflict and challenge a person can only turn to real heroes for inspiration and strength.

Cheikh

I think Fiction is good for individual in the same way that the author. For me, Fiction is a way to forget about reality of life and find a better way to see the world. In his text, Gottschall is explaining how Fiction is good and benefits to us. Fiction is shaping us for the good. He gave many examples to show it like, “For example, studies reliably show that when we watch a TV show that treats gay families non judgmentally (say, “Modern Family”), our own views on homosexuality are likely to move in the same nonjudgmental direction. History, too, reveals fiction’s ability to change our values at the societal level, for better and worse.” which mean that Fiction is helping us to see things differently, in a better way.

patrick o'connor

Patrick O’Connor
CSSEM 300
Professor Yeager
September 30, 2018
Fiction is good for me, Jonathan
Tim died yesterday. An old high school associate with a contagious smile and welcoming energy, Tim was a guy I gravitated toward back in the day. After graduation we would occasionally run into each other at bars and parties and have the typical “what’s new” conversation. After a few such encounters, Tim just blurted out to me, “Man I’m sick of these conversations with the high school crew. From now on when I see you I’m gonna get to the important stuff: what’re you watching on TV?” We shared a laugh about it, but from then on that’s exactly what we asked each other. The ensuing conversations were usually quite revealing to where we were as young adults, brushing off our formidable years and learning how we were going to fit in the world. I recall one particular conversation where he revealed to me he just bought a cheap violin after binge watching the BBC series “Sherlock”. We were aware of the influence these fictional worlds held on us and we enjoyed the absurdity of it all. Reading Jonathan Gottscall’s article on fiction’s influence on the mind brought me back to those engaging conversations with an old friend. I find my thoughts with his family at this time, but also there is a remorse that I will never have another snapshot of where he was by what he was watching.
I recall reading an article a while back with the same topic as Gottschall’s and began to monitor my reading habits through the new lens these studies brought to my attention. I found that I had an easier time relating to my coworkers and classmates if I found similarities between them and a fictional character I read about. With a conscious awareness of this correlation I found it a lot easier to let “them do them”, so to speak. Gottschall speaks of “rose colored glasses” that empathetic readers wear when looking at the world, and I believe that is true… to a point. I would define myself as a realist, my personal experiences have shown me that life is what it is at times. Happily ever after is a pipe dream. In my younger years I was reading quite a bit of classic literature, where everything is tied up neatly in 400 pages. I never saw that happening for me, but at the same time I began to realize that if I compartmentalized certain tasks or blocks of time I could more easily foresee a happy ending. A good week or job is a lot more believable to me than a good life or career. This, I believe, is a learned skill that was nourished by my countless hours of escape reading. But at the same time my worldview does not match Gottschalls theory that I, as an avid fiction reader, believe that goodness prevails. Now I may be an exception to the rule, but it is simply not the case for me.
The theories and studies discussed in this article seem to hold water in my own personal experience. I do believe certain social behaviors of mine have been honed through my reading and watching habits. The one question that remains for me is: does that make me a better person? I believe, like most portions of life and society as a whole, that the improvement lies in the awareness of the influence. Once the recognition of where a pattern of behavior begins is achieved, only then am I able to utilize its benefits. I have found it is easier for me to “turn on” empathetic thoughts and actions if I associate them with a larger narrative. Without knowing there is an “on” switch, I would just be tripping in the dark.

Bailey Williams

Fiction is good for us it does "mold us" and it helps us get more into the story and it can even "change our beliefs". Fiction helps people to become more creative and get deeper. In a study, it showed that "children (age 4-6) who were exposed to a large number of children’s books and films had a significantly stronger ability to read the mental and emotional states of other people." Which proves that Fiction helps children become more understanding and creative.Most of the time fiction even "teaches us that it is profitable to be good." which when kids see that being nice is rewarding they tend to be nice. I think Fiction is a great thing!

Larisa Ruth

Jonathan Gottschall says that fiction is good for people:“Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds.” The author is saying that because of the emotion that characters give off, we start to understand them and it helps to for us to understand real life people. It helps us to see what others believe in. I’ve never really thought of the benefits of reading fiction, but I agree with Gottschall. He says that people can learn to be more accepting of things by watching a tv show: “For example, studies reliably show that when we watch a TV show that treats gay families nonjudgmentally (say, “Modern Family”), our own views on homosexuality are likely to move in the same nonjudgmental direction. “ Fiction helps us to understand that there is evil in the world and that nothing is perfect. “In other words, fiction seems to teach us to see the world through rose-colored lenses.” The author has some really good points in this article.

Adam

In contrast to Cheikh's 8/9/2018 post, indicating that fiction is a good way to "forget about the reality of life and find a better way to see the world", I would argue that good fiction should actually force us to stop forgetting about the reality of life and hopefully take an in depth look at aspects of life we may have never before considered.

Powerful fiction should shine a mirror on society, reminding us of the realities of life so that positive changes can be made, even if this is often accomplished through images and stories that appear to be very different from our own world.

-Adam Fauth

Alyssa Lane

According to Jonathan Gottschall, “Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds.” Gotchall is saying that because of the emotion that characters give off, we start to understand them and it helps for us to understand real life people. It helps us to see what others believe in. “ Fiction helps us to understand that there is evil in the world and that nothing is perfect." Which is exactly why people tell stories to understand the many things in this world. Overall Gottschall had really amazing points in his article.

Erika Fernandez

In this article Jonathan Barlett discusses the advantages and disadvantages that fiction has in our society. Barlett goes in depth about fiction being used in the past using examples like Plato. According to Barlett, fiction is more effective at changing beliefs than non-fiction is. I think that with fiction we can escape our world and go into a made up world that seems better in our eyes because in a way we can relate to the characters and sometimes become the character. But with non-fiction we can't do any of that. We basically read in someone else's point of view and their opinion about the topic being read. Non-fiction is just straight up facts. Fiction helps us be better people, it molds our society into ways that we can all see through one equal view. The example that Barlett used was Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin", which showed the country that blacks are real, living people.Fiction effectively shapes us as an audience to understand other people. Fiction isn't just books, it's also the TV shows and movies that we watch. Fiction is there to provide us entertainment and escape our reality while non-fiction is there to persuade us through argument and evidence.

Rachel Harrell

In his article, Jonathon Gottschall bring up the question of the influence of fiction on humanity. He argues both sides of the story, saying “Fiction is dangerous because it has the power to modify the principles of both individuals and whole societies.” In the same breath, he quotes George Eliot, saying “one of fiction’s main jobs is to ‘enlarge men’s sympathies’.” He even goes so far as to say “Fiction seems to teach us to see the world through rose-colored lenses”, referencing the fact that some researchers believe that fiction may teach us to think the world is far more just than it truly is. But, in the end, Gottschall seems to agree that fiction is good for all of humanity, teaching us to understand those around us and show more empathy in general.

For the most part, I agree with Gottschall. I have been a fiction reader all my life, and as an introvert, it has given me a pathway to better understand those around me. I would also add that it’s a powerful form of escapism that can help those struggling with their day-to-day life to feel some relief. While the world may seem more just and filled with heroes than it really is to those of us who read fiction, it may give us the mindset to show more kindness and empathy to those around us.

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