Self Inflicted? More Like Book Inflicted

Have you ever watched a movie and wished your life was situated like the characters’? Or read a book and wished you held the same characteristics as the narrative’s? We all do. We all wish that our lives were slightly different, slightly more exciting, slightly more lucky when it comes to love. But isn’t it amazing how well books, movies, music can influence you so immensely? To make you wish that you had a similar life to a description on a page. Is that the power of literature, or the power of your imagination? You’ve all read a book, but have you read into a book?

One of the incredible beauties of reading a novel in my opinion is the way the writer can make you think, feel, agree or even disagree with a character. No two persons read the same book. A book is always interpreted in different ways, whether it’s due to personal experiences, how well you can relate to what the book is communicating, or whether you like/dislike the style of writing you are reading. However I find it astonishing how a book, words on a page, written by a complete stranger to you, can have such power, making you think about everything that is happening inside the pages between your fingers, escaping your own real life for that moment. Books that portray characters so well,  having the ability to profoundly creep into your mind during your everyday life is also incredibly fascinating. I have read books in the past, that when I reach the end, I am so disappointed that I won’t get to hear about the rest of the character’s everyday life, it genuinely takes time to detach from the fictional characters that I have built a one-way relationship with. Crazy isn’t it? I mean, becoming attached to fictional characters. Sound’s pathetic when you say it out loud, but it’s perfectly normal because it’s not just like a movie where you witness their actions in third person. No, a character in a book is much more than that; you learn intricate details about the character, you learn about their past (and potentially their present). You not only witness relationships around them, but if the narrative is first person, you understand, you empathise how they feel. I don’t know about you, but I reckon that is some pretty impressive stuff.

Another crazy, yet weirdly normal experience I have had with previous books are wishing I was more like the character that is narrating the story. Wishing I had their charismatic qualities, or clumsiness (may sound like a bizarre personal trait to want but trust me, books sell it to you). Thing is, authors create likable characters. They want you to fall in love with the character you read about, because when the twist comes, you are emotionally affected. It’s how books are made entertaining. So this means that you aspire to be like the characters you read about. You want to be as lovable as Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte), you want to be as grateful as Hazel Grace (The Fault In Our Stars, John Green), you want to be as fiery as Amy Elliot Dunne (Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn). And although you want to be similar to characters you read about, you also want sub-characters to enter in your life as easy as the author tells you they apparently can (to the protagonist). You want someone to adore you the way Gatsby adores Daisy (The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald). It’s the greed we feel when our imagination has no limits, and expectations rise when we read such novels.

Isn’t it amazing how much a book can affect your perception on the world, make you crave something you don’t already have? Everybody wants their life to be a collection of perfect moments we desirably witness through literature and even films, blurring the lines between expectations and reality. Comment how a book has influenced you, possibly being the reason why it might be a favourite book to you!

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