Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's just Fiction...or is it?

I have always had a love-hate relationship with Mills and Boon books. I will always blame my romantic expectations on these highly fictional works. But should I blame the books or myself? It is after all just a story about something that is not real.

I read this guys post...and being somewhat of a fiction fan I really thought about what he said. And it occurred to me that to some extent I agree with him. I might only agree with the title of his post but it is agreement non-the-less.

All I know about the books (hunger games and harry potter) is what the movies tell me. And from what the movie told me, the Hunger Games heroin Katniss was dismissive of her mother, because her mother abandoned them, when they needed her the most. 

Imagine really needing your mother...and she being there, but not being bothered to care about you. She’s too consumed by her own feelings to even acknowledge yours. Can you imagine what that must feel like? Older siblings often have this need to fulfil the role of the parent, when needed...then loosing respect for the parent because they are “doing a job” that the parent should. I’ve actually seen this behaviour in real life.  

So I think the story line firstly, is true to reality and secondly should teach parents that your job is to look after your kids, not the other way. I don’t know what happens in the books, but Katniss’s treatment of her mother is justified in the movie. It might not be right, because in Islam you are not allowed to be rude to your parents no matter what.

Can I blame my dysfunctional love life on the Mills and Boon fictional books? Can a parent blame the disrespect shown by their child on fiction? Me thinks...No to both questions.

It comes back to the whole idea of fiction. Fiction is just that...fiction. It’s not real, it’s made up. Your children will know that even though Peter Pan can can’t fly in real life, unless you’re in an aeroplane.

The most important part of fiction is to teach children the fundamental truth of life...that good always will verse evil and good, will always win. This is an important lesson for children to learn, because they need to learn that if they do something bad, they are going to get caught and punished. And if they do something good they will be rewarded. 

Now, in reality this is not always the case. Good people are not rewarded and Bad people tend to live very full lives. BUT...the place that this is most in the hereafter. In the world after this one, the good will be rewarded the bad will be punished and justice will reign. Fiction (most of them) reinforces this idea in scenarios that make it almost real to the reader. Key word almost. This is fiction having a purpose.

I hate fiction that doesn’t have anything substantial behind it. A story that doesn’t have a moral, to me is not a story. It is just an opportunity for the writer to self-indulge in his or her delusions for nothing more than to please their own ego.

The one thing I think is dangerous about Harry Potter/Hunger games is it teaches children about power in a negative way. Magic (or physical strength that is non-human) has an element of ‘god like’ actions because it gives the person the ability to control things that by human standards are uncontrollable. It makes the reader feel like they wish they had the power “of god”.

This is very dangerous, because as we grow up, we learn that Power is not something that can be found through a spell or toxic waste dump. It does exist, but not as we thought it did. It is something that is very valuable and it is something that everyone fights for and more importantly, something that you will not have all of the time. 

Whether it is the desire to have the power to change the weather or say a spell to fix your glasses, the desire for power that was not meant to be yours is dangerous. Who knows how that desire will be nurtured and how it will grow. Who knows what lengths people will go through just to feel an ounce of such power? Will they go looking in dark places for magic? Will they oppress people in their lives to feel powerful? Because ultimately, it is the feeling of powerlessness when you are a child, that really does stay with you for the rest of your life.

There are many many positive things that can be learned from fantasy fiction books and really only one bad. Because as Muslim’s we learn that there is only one ultimate power and that is Allah(SWT). For example He controls the weather and is in possession of ultimate strength and most of all He has the power over your life and death. To believe, or even want otherwise is tantamount and in some cases is...shirk; the deadliest of all sins.

Does that mean we stay away from the books...I don’t think so. But you have to teach children the true meaning of fiction.

I always wanted to fly like peter pan when I was a kid...sometimes I still do. Not to feel feel free. 


Anonymous said...

"...good always will verse evil and good, will always win....Now, in reality this is not always the case. Good people are not rewarded and Bad people tend to live very full lives. BUT...the place that this is most in the hereafter."

Yes -WE know that, but how many of those movies even ALLUDE to a Hereafter? Religious belief is excluded or mocked in this secular framework of today's entertainment - so the portrayal on-screen (or in books) is very, very distorted.

Lady T said...


But what I mean is that by learning the concept of good vs. evil in an entertaining and fun way can help them understand the concept of good vs. evil in a real way.

I know some people who don't believe in a world that we cannot see. And they struggle with ideas about heaven and hell because they don't have the ability to believe in something or even imagine a world that is not real and present at this moment in time.