Do novels make life seem easy?

September 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Last week I was talking about the torture that exists if you have to wait for the sequel of your favourite novel to be released.

I’m starting to wonder if it might not be a good thing.

A friend of mine posted a link to an interesting article at Huffington Post about the Gen Y Yuppie and their expectations. I’ve added a link to the article, if you want to see it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wait-but-why/generation-y-unhappy_b_3930620.html

I think it’s an accurate description of the state of affairs. Somewhere along the way, people have gained the idea that they’re special/amazing/extraordinary, and this equates to the belief that everything should be easy for them and there should be little, if any, effort involved in a career.

Most of us who are older know this is not so, even if we once believed it. In most cases, if you want to live your dream, it required you travel a hard, ugly road. You’ve got to love whatever it is you’re doing more than all the difficulties. It’s what keeps you going through all that hard slog.

However, I can’t help but wonder if novels attribute to this attitude. Not just novels either, but TV and movies. After all, they manage to wrap up life events into 300 page, sixty minute or two hour segments and then leave it all (usually) with a bright, pretty bow and a HEA (Happily Ever After). Not only that, but with everything now available at the click of a button, we don’t even have to wait for our favourite show/movie/book to be available locally. We can just download it from wherever we are. So the idea of instant gratification and HEAs seems to be borne out both by what we encounter in popular media and in the way it’s delivered.

Now, I’m not saying that we should stop writing/reading/watching things and that we should try and make them all end up doom and gloom to make it ‘realistic’, but perhaps a bit of realism doesn’t go astray now and then, and maybe waiting a while for a new book is not such a bad idea. Anything to avoid the thought that HEAs are instant and obtainable, and that no effort is required.

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