Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More Explanation

After my last post, I talked with two of my good friends about what I'd written.  I realized that I should give a little more explanation about some parts of the post.

One of the lessons that has impacted me the most from reading so many books over the past four years is that I need to consider who is writing the books I'm reading.  What is their perspective?  What is their worldview?  What are their religious beliefs?  

A few years ago when the movie series based on C.S. Lewis' Narnia Series came out, there were several books and a lot of attention given to "finding God" in the series.  My husband read Alan Jacobs' book The Narnian and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Afterwards, we discussed the book series.  What I came to understand is that C.S. Lewis was a Christian, as was J.R.R. Tolkein.  Both men wrote from their perspectives of the world.  They didn't set out to write Christian allegories, but their faith naturally permeated the worlds that they created in their books.  

Here's an example of how an author's perspective uniquely shapes what they write.  One of the books I read over a year ago was written by a public school teacher who had homeschooled her two children for 3 years.  They were likely in the same grade.  She taught public school before and afterwards.  Her book lectured homeschoolers on how they need to be more organized--but her husband was the driving organizational force in their home.  I read the book because of the polarized reviews of it.  I realized early on that I needed to research who the author was.  That was when I found all of these details out about her (all on the web via her own website and bios).  I was a public school teacher and I've learned that many public school teachers do not have a high view of homeschooling--it is a threat because by taking our children out of school, the message is sent to teachers that parents think they can do a better job than the schools--essentially their jobs get questioned.  Most homeschooling parents do not actually feel this way, though a few do.  The reality is that homeschooling parents feel they can give their children a better education at home--for a variety of reasons.  In any case, there is still a low view of homeschooling held by many teachers.  The other thing I realized was that she taught two children--in elementary school--of similar age.  That is a completely different ball of wax than teaching multiple ages that are spread out while juggling a toddler or middle/high school.  The author's experience shaped how she saw homeschooling--just as my experience does.

Though that book was nonfiction, I believe the same can be true of fiction.  Penelope Stokes is an example of a fiction writer.  Several years ago, I read some of her books.  They were filled with strong Christian beliefs and theology.  But, two or three years ago, I picked up a more recent book of hers and it shocked me!  I went to her website and discovered that her personal beliefs are now quite liberal.  That was reflected in what she wrote.  

In the same way, Stephanie Meyer's belief system naturally permeates what she wrote in the Twilight series.  I don't believe that she set out to subliminally weave Mormon theology into her books.  But, I do believe it's there because it's how she sees the world and what she believes.

The other part of my post that I wanted to address was any pride that may have come through in my post.  When I mentioned the show that I watched in the fall (which I happen to be watching as I'm writing this post), I didn't mean to infer that watching television is a horrible thing.  I sincerely enjoy watching television shows online since we don't have cable.  But, I saw in myself that I dwelt on the show and the plot too much--I gave it too much of my time.  It preoccupied me and stole attention from me that I should have been giving to the people I love.  

So, those are my thoughts this morning.  I hope that sheds a little more light on my last post.

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