Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Defamiliarizing

"Realistic literature operates by "defamiliarizing" experience. It is often said that familiarity breeds contempt; it is probably more accurate to say the familiarity breeds blindness. When we become used to something, we stop noticing it. Driving a car for the first time was exhilirating; after awhile, the complexities of driving become automatic and routine. . . ."

. .. ."Literature "defamiliarizes" experience by causing us to take notice of realiities that we have come to ignore. A realistic novel about ordinary life can open our eyes to the rich texture of our own "ordinary" life - to its problems and dramas, to the complexity of relationships, to the preciousness of the common cycle of life (growing up, falling in love, raising a afamily, working, dying). The aesthetic distancing, the way the writer makes us imagine the significant details, the complexity of the form (which demands close attention and reflection) - such literary devices can awaken us to what we have taken for granted, the unseen and unfelt all around us. A novel about love, marriage, and children can enable us to appreciate our own families." . . . .

Quote from: Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature, by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

2 comments:

mom said...

This quote is so true. This year I have discovered George MacDonald and he does exactly that for me. When I read his books he makes me look at the christian life in a new way!

Just Here For Now said...

Excellent description of reading for me!
Just brilliant...