Oct 19, 2015

How Reading Changed Me


Last week felt like I had the most inspirational lessons from my Literature teacher, who (by now) has grown to become one of my favorite teachers in school. Throughout the years, I have had essays and poetry that had little influence on me because of their lack of meaning, so I barely appreciated literature back then.

Now, I love literature more than anything -- even to the point of wanting to major in Literature for college in 2 years. This was mostly because of my Literature teacher who inspires me so much with his selections. The essays and written works he made us study were deep and remarkable. They change my beliefs today, and I have never realized how reading could have influenced me in various ways.

Because of reading:

I appreciate the humanities a little bit more now.


I often feel so inspired when I read a really great book that delves so much into reality; it makes me appreciate everything in this life and what humans are capable or are incapable of. I love how I get to read insightful aspects of human life, such as people's potential to overcome struggles and the like. It's inspiring to read about brave characters, such as Harry Potter, who can be so willing to continue fighting until the end.


I am more aware of social issues and injustice.


In my Literature class, we discussed this essay called, The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain by Langston Hughes. One quote that struck me the most was: "I want to be a poet. Not a Negro poet." Just by this saying, it could already be implied that the persona is ashamed of his race and wants to be part of the lucky ones.

Which brings me to this point of how books widen my eyes on current social issues and injustice.  I love how books can do that! Hughes' essay speaks about racial discrimination, which really opened my way of seeing various races. Because I read it, now I think people shouldn't feel sorry for being born in a particular skin color. I think people should feel proud of who they are and not feel any more inferior than the others, regardless of race or color.


I am more open to different cultures.


I'll be honest: I grew up reading books set in the US, apart from my own culture. It was mostly because I was largely influenced by my school for promoting the English language more. Then half of my friends and relatives resided in the US, and having spent my summer there most of the time... it made me view things in only one side.

For the past 2 years, I have taken up Afro-Asian and Anglo-American Literature. This year, I am delving into World Literature. I love it so much how I get to see Chinese culture in the novels I've read, or stories based on the Free State of Saxony because I get to see the diversity of everything! 

There have also been a handful of bloggers who helped me appreciate other lovely cultures out there and introduced to me new stuff. (Also, shoutout to Mishma for sharing her writing in this post about her culture! Loved reading it!) :-)


I see the effects of everything.


I'm talking about books that touch on topics such as bullying and discrimination

When I was young, I didn't know how harmful bullying could be. Sure, I watched in movies the concept of bullying; there were girls crying in bathroom stalls or locking themselves in their rooms. But I thought that was it. I thought that was the highest extent of what bullying could do to others. Ever since I began to read more and more YA, I was more aware of its effects.

There was self-harm, loss of dignity, depression, anxiety, and even suicide. If you have read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, you would've realized a lot more of what it could do to people. Thanks to books, I saw everything in a different light. 


Lastly, I have been changed into a new person.

HOW THE HECK COULD BOOKS EVEN CHANGE YOU?!


Education.

Books are educative. According to Horace, literature has two functions -- "dulce et utile" -- which means to please and to instruct. To seduce and to educate. Not only do books bring entertainment to its readers, but also do they teach people about the realities happening around us.

And in that way, reading transformed me. It changed me into someone I would never have been today if it weren't for the written words that -- having no idea -- could change the way I view the world today.

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