A while ago, I interviewed my readers for a change, and my final question was, “What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask?” I got some great responses and will be picking out some of the questions from time to time to ask the rest of you. Like now.
Have you ever used a book to instruct someone of something or is there anyone for whom you would like to do that? (I don’t mean a text book for a class, but a work of fiction or non-fiction that would get a certain message across either through plot or character). What is the book and what do you wish to impart?
Books, like all art, are a product of their era. I’ve recently started reading the Dirk Pitt series by Clive Cussler and have been struck my certain attitudes, sensibilities and habits characters display in the novels. Reading the Pitt series, I’m reminded of Ian Fleming’s original Bond novels. There are certain attitudes and vocabulary used in the original Fleming novels that, quite frankly, wouldn’t make it into a mainstream publication today. (See Live and Let Die, for example). But they’re in there because they were part of that era and a reflection of it.
I think that is where books or movies of a certain era can help us understand things that era better than just reading about it on a history page. It’s why I get annoyed when certain groups try to make The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn politically correct. Are there words used in there that we shouldn’t use today? Yes. Are there attitudes and treatments of people that we find incongruous with today’s standards? Yes. But that doesn’t mean we should strip them out, remove them or deny they happened. To do this is to deny history and to condemn ourselves to repeat it.