Lyanna Stark Posted August 3, 2010 Share Posted August 3, 2010 Yet my wife has rejected all of these arguments, disgusted that human beings take pleasure in negative emotions evoked through literature, and it's the simplest line of thought of all that I cannot truly answer: Why do we choose to experience negative emotions rather than happiness? What makes us tap our feet impatiently for the next Bakker or GRRM novel rather than trying to get cheap smiles from stories written to make the reader merely happy? No offence to your wife, but what DOES she read apart from Mills & Boon and maybe Carebears? If you're looking at classics, you will certainly not be spoilt by a lot of jolly outings, perfect lawns and happiness. A lot of the greats of the past are definitely more tragedies than they are happy go lucky (someone already mentioned Dante, for instance).I mean, consider a story like Oliver Twist. A lot of human suffering in that one, orphaned children being treated horribly etc. Is it wallowing and perverted to like Oliver Twist? What about Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, The Count of Monte Christo or Les Miserables? They all contain elements of suffering, whether it's orphans, imprisonment, bereavement and plain people being mean to eachother and performing acts of evil.Themes like this make stories resonate; they make them feel real. It has nothing to do with being a pervert, it has to do with being able to sympathise with the characters and to find the setting interesting. A setting where nothing bad ever has a chance of happening is all very nice, but also terribly boring and predictable.When so much of the world population seems so content with generic tales where the good guy always wins and lives happily ever after with his princess, what gives us such a fine appreciation and joy for dark literature? I don't know if this is necessarily true. People just never get the chance to try and appreciate something different. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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