Imagine A World Of...Imagination

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"I often tell my students that reading is an activity of the imagination, and the imagination in question is not the writer's alone" (Foster 46).

Give someone with no imagination Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky" and see what they get out of it.  They might learn some new words, but other than that, it will not mean anything to them.  If they cannot create a picture in their mind from the words that are written on the page, they will be very unsuccessful in reading much of anything. 

Imagination is so important, not only to a reader or a writer, but to everyone. 

I am not a big fan of horror movies (some are too gory for me to handle and others just insult my intelligence).  I do however, enjoy horror stories.  Ever since I was a small child, I was fascinated with the paranormal.  I started with Goosebumps by R.L. Stine, moved onto the series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, then Fear Street (more R.L. Stine) and eventually Stephen King.    


Okay, Lauren, so what's your point?  We don't care about your creepy fascination with the paranormal. 

(Pulled a Foster there, didn't I?)

The point is that most of the time I will be more likely to sleep with the light on after reading a scary story as opposed to watching a scary movie.  Why?  My imagination is much stronger than what is often times presented to me on a movie screen.  Watching a movie does not necessarily require imagination.  The characters are right in front of you, speaking out loud, in a realistic setting; you can see every last detail.  With a book, all you have is words.  It is left up to you, the reader, to make the characters, the dialogue, and the setting come to life in your mind. 

Which requires...(say it with me now)...IMAGINATION.   


Kaitlin Monier said:

I understand what you mean when you say that you would rather sleep with the lights on after reading a scary book than watching a scary movie. I am the same way. With books, your imagination fills in the blanks and grows from the words. However, movies just show you, its not as involved and doesn't take much imagination to watch.

Juliana Cox said:

I enjoyed reading this. I also was a fan of goosebumps, both the books and tv shows. In a way I think our imagination works as a movie. The only difference is that we give the character faces and traits. Therefore, using our imagination.

Greta Carroll said:

You make a really good point. Imagination is the key. I agree that not seeing something on a movie screen actually does make it scarier in a lot of ways. Your mind is left to create the atmosphere, the scene, how horrible it actually is. Last night when I read “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, I thought I was going to have a hard time getting to bed because of it.
I think another reason that books are more effective is because we are accustomed to the gore and blood in movies, so we see it and then it is over. When we imagine it, even after we have finished reading the words, we can’t stop our imaginations from continuing.

Erica Gearhart said:

I really liked this section in Foster too. Imagination is the whole point of pleasure reading for me. You get to imagine all sorts of places and people that you can never really see or experience. I think why Dr. Jerz is trying to make us understand the difference between showing and telling. I think that a major part of showing is not showing-in other words not being obvious- so that we can excite our own readers' imaginations in the same ways that all great authors do.

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