Does Reading Make For Better People?
When we think “book”, only its good qualities come to our mind. It is generally believed that books have good influence on readers. Undoubtedly it is true, at least as far as intellectual aspects of life are concerned. Reading broads the mind, enriches our vocabulary and stimulates our imagination. But what about other aspects of life? What about our morality? Does reading have moral influence on people? Can it improve or deprove
people’s character? The answer isn’t so obvious in this case. We have to take many things into account.
First of all we have have to consider many kinds of books and their different purposes. Certainly from textbooks we can only have educational benefits. Similarly, we can’t expect to veryfind a moral message in a guidebook, as it’s only to pass on useful information on holiday destination. A different thing is with fiction. Although people usually read it mainly for entertaining purposes, thay can also benefit from other objectives contained in a book. For instance , while enjoying reading “The Pilgrim” by Paolo Coehlo , we can also improve our geographical knowledge, as there are many elements connected with this area. Moreover, in the same book a reader can find something beneficial for his soul as it has moral dimension as well. In the content of narratives, many authors usually put instructions on how to live , how to be a good man. But this doesn’t work very often as some readers just want to enjoy reading itself and don’t notice these moral inference , even if it is overt. Others in turn let themselves be taken in the moral facts presented in a book but only for the duration of the story. They don’t find them applicable in the real world so after having read the narrative they just forget them. These readers who want to take advice from the work of literature, to let it influence their life, they take a book that only seeks to improve people’s character. Here , the Bible is the first book of this kind that comes to our mind. It is usually
read by people who want to follow the example from its “main Character” in order to be a better man.
There are also other cases of influential books. They exert influence on a reader in a slightly different way though. These are books which present us sad reality surrounding us , that we even don’t notice in our everyday life. This sad truth we get to know while reading such book moves us and in this way makes us act. A reader influenced by it becomes more sensitive for social problems and pay more attention to them. For instance people moved by the problem of terminally ill children presented in a narrative, become more interested in this situation. They start to care about organizations that help such children , give money to support them or even create such organizations on their own. We have to mention here the name of Polish famous swimmer- the swimming Olympic Champion- who influenced by the book telling the story of Oscar-a boy suffering from leukemia , decided to hand over her gold medal to help such children like him. Such cases of positive impact of the fiction are of course more , which is a consoling fact for us, living in the age of constantly growing crime rate.
To sum up , we can’t say unanimously whether reading makes people better or no, as it deeply depends on person and his needs and each person should be treated as an individual. However there is one thing we can be sure. Reading takes people free time so they don’t spend it on activities that are harmful for the society, which is very important especially for young people. Thus, even if reading doesn’t make one better by its moral, it doesn’t do any harm to him either.