Fiction encourages readers and develops crucial qualities

illustration by Randi Weflestad

Stories are everywhere. They bring transformation to the world, but their importance is often overlooked. Reading fiction is often seen as a hobby, a way to spend free time or even a source of entertainment, but the simple activity is much more than that. Fictional stories hold a lot more purpose and value than most people realize.

Many significant lessons can be learned from fictional stories. Fiction has a huge impact on morals, creative ability, critical thinking skills and even the way people communicate with one another. Stories have the ability to transform and shape the way people see the world by representing outside perspectives.

Jennifer Tronti, assistant professor of English, said reading fiction is important because it challenges the perspective of  readers. This produces an essential quality that is also overlooked: empathy.

“We each see the world through our own window of experience. By reading stories, we can look through someone else’s window. Reading allows us to live through another person’s eyes, which teaches empathy. Without reading, you are locked in your own little window,” Tronti said.

Tronti also pointed out that in this generation, reading has become less of a priority over time, which has affected education as a result.

“True empathy is so educationally valuable. Recent studies have shown that students are lacking in critical thinking and communication skills, both oral and written. It is easy to collect data but reading teaches us to use critical thinking to interpret data, which is crucial to education,” Tronti said.

Fiction is meant to expand people’s imagination and widen their point of view by pulling readers out of their comfort zone. Stories have the power to contribute to humanity and shape an entire society.

Kabrina Bowls, junior actuarial science major, said fiction helps improve her critical thinking and visualization skills while allowing her mind to travel to different places without physically traveling anywhere. 

“Reading fiction is a journey of self-discovery. Fiction is important because it improves your analytical skills by trying to understand what the author is saying. What I love about fiction is the endless possibilities of stories that exist. Through all the books I have read, I figure there is always something that can be learned,” Bowls said.

Fiction has the ability to bring fantasy into reality by embedding imagination, wonder and hope into the real world. Creative ability is not only beneficial, but necessary for everyday life. Reading fiction allows readers to exercise that ability.

Aaron Siemens, junior English major, said reading fiction should be valuable for everyone because it provides a way of escape from reality.

“Fiction allows us to imagine a better version of reality that we can learn from and create. It is important for everyone to read fiction, no matter his or her field. People not sharing new ideas is like forgetting to breathe,” Siemens said.

Reading fiction not only enhances character and develops essential qualities, it also improves education, academic skills and relationships with other people, which are valuable for everyone. 

Fictional stories are important and  powerful enough to impact and refine anyone, regardless of their interests, goals or area of study.

Leave a Reply