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No Less than the Computer


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Ever since I was a child, I have found the most comforting places in the novel. Whether it be the world of wizards in Harry Potter, or simply an ordinary home, like the one in The Boxcar Children books that would entrance me for hours, I have always found consolation in these figments of an author’s imagination. Throughout my life, books have influenced and inspired me, and they have been the teachers of various important lessons.

When I was in third grade, I was exposed to the Harry Potter series, and I was immediately taken hostage by Rowling’s fanciful world of magic. These books are more than mere entertainment for me; they are responsible for providing me with comfort at various points in my life, and for always standing up tall as alleviation for any type of boredom. Most importantly, I was introduced to Albus Dumbledore through the series, and if I were to make a list of those who inspire me most, he would make the top ten. Harry Potter has been more than just a series of fantasy books that I read and I liked and then forgot about. They have been an experience that I relive every summer, simply to revisit the special place they hold in my heart.

Last year, I read a book that changed my perception of the world, and mostly of the country of my ancestors, India. A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry, explained to me the hard life of so many in India, and it made the dangers of such realities as caste violence and corruption extremely real and hard-hitting. It inspired me to see past the initial impression I may have a person, especially as relating to the prejudgments we may hold of people of a certain race or social status. It challenged me to look past what may be seen at just first sight and to look for a story behind the initial surface, no matter how rough and unpleasant it may be.

If well written, the novel can shape our lives. It can serve as a warning for the dangers in life, or can teach us moral life lessons. A novel’s characters can become our best friends; they can be the ones who do not run away when we are in trouble, but valiantly come to our rescue. The novel can be the medicine that stops the pain, the most powerful painkillers.

Books are, like painkillesrs, to be taken in small dosages. It would be unwise to become so obsessed with a book, no matter which one it may be, that one forgets one’s own life. But in my own generation, I have noticed a general slipping away from books, and this is something that must be changed immediately. I have no interest in spreading the knowledge of literary techniques or grammar or anything of that sort, but to not read is to deprive oneself of one of life’s greatest pleasures. To not take advantage of something so close and available would be the cruelest type of blasphemy.

Books allow us to hide without really going anywhere, to be comforted without having to find someone who genuinely would like to offer solace. These statements may seem to place humans in a pessimistic light, but it remains true that sometimes, it is the creation of humans, in this case, the novel, that is able to provide a more human look at the world. If we can rely so much on the computer, (a creation of human), there should be no problems in relying on the novel, a creation that is no less of a feat than the computer. The novel is something that should not be lost among the 21st century technology we are surrounded with today. It is something that we should preserve and pass on to our posterity, and ensure that they pass it on to theirs.




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