Bonnie Jo Campbell on Literature



and one of the things that sometimes when we put stories in front of readers who are in perhaps college students that oftentimes stories assigned a college literature classes seem rather harsh the endings are not all nicely tied up and happy and you'll give us these really strong harsh circumstances your characters are often put a very vulnerable positions why why do you think good literature seems to have that ingredient of harshness of trouble you know I feel so many caught soy in my college students you know ask that why can't really read some happy story hey I think it's the work of literature to explore difficulty and there are other means of writing that are more they escaping mystery stories and romances they're very escapist in the sense that in some way they they encourage the reader to turn off her brain and just go for the ride and just you know you know in a romance what's gonna happen at the end and you know in a mystery they're gonna catch that bad character and they're gonna put that bad character away and in literary works like in real life we don't know what's gonna happen I think those of us who have come to love literary fiction we are looking for ways to explore the very difficult the very same problems that we will encounter the very difficulties or or problems that are that are that are similar and that we can we can see as metaphors for problems that we've seen in fiction or this book I think for some people will be a little bit difficult because it explores some scary stuff it explores rape it explores again unwanted pregnancy it explores the dark place that families sometimes go the places where families things and families are not like the pictures we see in Norman Rockwell they're not like sitcom families but their families that have to work through difficult problems and maybe economic problems and and maybe other kinds of problems but I think we there's a reason that the stories that have really lasted the stories that we continue to read for hundreds of years you know we're still reading Chekhov we're still reading you know Moby Dick we're still reading Charles Dickens because they were dealing with the tough problems you know here's the thing if you've got a really simple problem to solve don't write a story just solve the darn but if you've got a really difficult situation that's something worth writing about

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