By Jennifer Wan
Fiction. It’s what could be considered a “classic” genre, one that’s especially popular among the younger audience, one that most have read in bulk during younger ages, and still consume throughout their lives, even well into adulthood. Yet, because of many of its prominent characteristics—descriptive language, imagined plots, involvement of emotions, fiction has earned the perception of being “childish,” “fatuous,” or “read only for fun” among many. However, contrary to popular belief, fiction is not solely entertainment, and its consumption actually has many benefits. Here are a few of them:
1. Boosts creativity
In fiction, many characteristics are rather artistic. We can find plot and characterization with many out-of-the-world aspects and many possibilities for interpretation. Along with the usually abstract concepts and ideas incorporated throughout imaginative and visionary plotlines, embellished with descriptive details and language, fiction proves to be a giant catalyst of artistic characteristics to fuel the imagination and boost creativity.
2. Improves social and emotional abilities
Though literature and books may seem arbitrary when it comes to our social and emotional capabilities, that just might not be the case. In fact, fiction can have an impact on the scientific aspects of humans. Studies have shown that reading fiction improves empathy and social perception and cognition, as the interactions and emotions of the characters, as well as sentiments expressed throughout the plotline enhance our empathy and perception of emotion.
3. Communicates lessons
Though we most likely will not have to resort to wielding a golden sword in the lair of a grotesque dragon or venturing miles across vast green plains in search of a vital antique treasure, we can always apply the broader essence and ideas expressed within fictional literature to our lives. Through reading fictional works, we can learn to remain resilient when overcoming obstacles, or learn to be clever when amidst challenging situations like a protagonist.
4. Immerses and trains focus
Within fiction, the emotions, interpretational aspects, variety of ideas, layers of plot, and interactions of characters involved can create quite a journey within the minds of those who are reading. Because of this, many may find that they cannot “put the book down” and may become so engrossed within the book that they begin focusing even without being aware. As the ability to focus is trained and takes practice, reading fiction can be an inadvertent contributor to an enhanced ability to focus.
With a plethora of potential benefits, along with the interesting plotlines in each, fiction has produced many meaningful pieces of literature. Fiction is not insignificant and is not something to “retire from,” but rather something to embrace and continue incorporating throughout our lives.