Cantabile Posted January 9, 2011 Share Posted January 9, 2011 Inspired by a comment about a certain author shoving his point of view down the reader's throat.I've heard this criticism about many novels in my lifetime, with people saying things like, "The book had a cool message, but the author just kept pounding me over the head with it. After a few hundred pages I got the point already, jeez!" and I'm sure all of you have heard similar or felt that way about a particular book before.But where do we as readers draw the line between an author expressing a message and developing it, versus shoving it down our throats? What makes a novelist preachy, and why is that a bad thing?My opinion is that if a novel is trying to express and develop an idea or theme, then "shoving it down the reader's throat" makes perfect sense, as the author will want to repeatedly present it in as much context, with as many details, supporting evidence, and explanations as possibly, or their idea is simply not developed. Whether or not someone enjoys the book will just be subjective to whether or not they enjoyed the message, and how it was explored. Many readers prefer there to be no point of view of the author, but to me that makes a work meaningless. If a novel is simply a compilation of characters peforming actions, then it's nothing more than entertainment to pass our time. Our opinions, thoughts, and beliefs are not questioned, society is not analyzed, and it contributes nothing to our actual outlook on humanity or life. It's just a "good read" like mindlessly watching the boob tube.But if it's a novel then we expect that entertainment aspect. It's a requirement. If we just wanted messages we'd be reading essays and studies, not novels, after all. So how does an author blend a story with a message, or use a story as an exploration of a message, without being considered preachy by his audience?And should we, as an audience, even complain about whether a book focuses heavily on a theme or point of view? Is that really something to critique, or simply a taste? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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