The Romanticism in Reading


Hayden MacDonald

During quarantine, many students have been reading more books to see what lessons they hold.

Hayden MacDonald, Photojournalist

With the advancement of technology through television, computers, and cell phones; many have criticized humanity for becoming less humane. Instead of looking at the world around us, we look at moving pictures on our digital screens. Instead of communicating face-to-face, we text and use emoticons to express feelings. This detachment from reality has been rampant amongst teenagers who are the first to have gone through adolescence in the digital age. With this in regards, many teens have been looking for a way to find a deeper connection with life and have looked towards reading books.

During the increased free time brought about by the pandemic, many people have looked towards literature to find hope amidst the chaos. With greater freedom to focus on themselves, many have utilized this period of time to self-reflect and develop their character to become their truest selves. Apart from their busy schedules and encroaching social pressure, many people have enjoyed the freedom to explore new avenues for their lives and personalities.

Humans for centuries have been writing stories to describe humanity’s deepest emotions and troubles that are faced universally. From the emotional ambiguity of poetry to the raw character development displayed in classic novels, literature has played a role in guiding humans through life’s greatest turns. 

For Senior, Vijay Arora (12), he has been reading economic theory and philosophy as a way to “understand society and humanity.” This mode of reading has been especially interesting in the field of politics and current events in the world. As he gets older, he wants to continue reading in order to find possible solutions to the crises facing our world as well as to positively impact those in need. He found reading to be the most fun when he took “the initiative and read something” that actually interested him. Reading prompted him to take action in the world around him just like the writers and characters in the books he read. 

I personally have grown as an avid reader over quarantine. Although I had always wanted to read more, I never found the time or the right motivation to pursue this endeavor. I have always wanted to read the classics in order to better understand the lessons they held. I recently read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen who recounts the different philosophies regarding love by two sisters. One believes that love is something that can be controlled and held back, while the other believes it to be an overpowering sensation that takes its own control. 

The lesson Sense and Sensibility teaches, regarding love, is not only significant to life, but the act of reading the book itself teaches a lesson of patience. The romanticism of reading reveals lessons through long endeavors rather than easy shortcuts such as movies and TV shows. Also, instead of being given the picture of the scene, readers must create their own mental image of what the story is telling. This on its own increases a reader’s imagination and thinking skills for other aspects of their life. 

Although it has become easier to turn on the TV or watch a Youtube video on one’s phone, the joy found in reading is unmatched by any other new age activity that one can find. Not only do the stories reveal critical lessons for people to learn, but the act of reading also allows people to truly reflect on their life and their immense potential for greatness.