Novels aren’t Factual Truth

The novel has always told truth about people, relationships, culture, society and life in a roundabout way.  Through the thoughts and conversations of the characters, the reader gains an insight into how people think, what they believe, their motivations and emotions–at least in the time of the novel’s setting.  Today a new genre of novel attempts to tell truth more often found in non-fiction work, but tell it without the kind of research, footnotes, quotes and debate found in articles and essays.  The medium used to tell the author’s version of truth about some present societal or political debate is a lecture by one of the characters (usually portrayed as an expert of some sort), or fictional articles, fictional tv shows and the like.  The reader begins to believe the fictional characters and media in the novel are the result of well-researched, well-weighed, even-handed evidence.  Most often this is not the case.  The author is interested in the reader being persuaded to the authors point of view through the medium of a “page-turner”, the involvement of the reader’s emotions and the reader’s identification with characters.  As a result, a lot of readers change their opinion on many topics, but without the critical thinking and study expected of the reader of serious prose.  Its a free country, and speech is free, but these days readers need to use critical thinking when reading the “information” in novels, as much as they do when reading editorials.

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