You are on page 1of 11

Kevin McCall

Gifted Period 7
Quick & Appino

“… we will always learn more about human life and personality

from novels than from scientific psychology” To what extent do
you agree?

Many people believe fiction books can be just as educational if not

more educational that scientific books or articles. This is an accurate

statement, though many doubts assert themselves. Two questions are

commonly used against this argument, which are “How can fiction, which is

false, teach truth?” And “How can it teach it better than what is meant to

teach or explain it?” Though the latter is not directly used against novels, it

is often used against it. All questions have an answer, each different for each

person. But there are some things that are impossible to make a universal

explanation to, such as feelings. Feelings and personality cannot be taught,

only discovered.

The first challenge is proving untruth true. But fiction, contrary to

popular belief is not entirely false. Fiction is defined as “an imaginary thing

or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.” This

means that fiction is not untrue, just that fiction is an event that is made up

to serve a purpose. It is used today to entertain but that was not always the

case. The tales of the Brothers Grimm were not intended for entertainment,
but today they are. They were thought up by parents trying to teach their

kids what not to do. Hansel and Gretel was never intended to entertain

children, but was to teach children never to enter the forest alone. The tales

with the witch were used to scare the children so they would never enter the

forest alone. As they matured, they realized that there was no witch and that

the story wasn’t true, but they were old enough to realize what is a smart

idea and what is not. The story’s purpose was to teach the kids, and it played

its part well. There is a quote, maybe known, maybe not, about a witch in

the Land of Oz “No-one mourns the wicked! Through their lives our

children learn what they miss when they misbehave!” It directly references

to the fact that stories were used to teach lessons. The witch was thought to

be evil, and the parents taught their children to be good by telling them what

the witch did and what happened to her because of it. In that particular

world, however the story actually happened but as that time becomes more

and more distant, and the story changes, making it into legend and event that

may or may not have happened. Just like fiction, it is used to make a point,

and it gets it point across.

Also, just because a book is fiction does not mean it doesn’t have

truthful things in it. Every author must research the plausibility of the things

they are creating in the book and running it through a screen of fact and
plausibility. Even in books like Star Wars, where mostly everything is made

up, George Lucas needed to run his creations through and see if what he was

thinking was plausible. The ships he creates are made to serve a particular

purpose, and are designed with that purpose. His small tie fighter creations

are made to be factory efficient while still being an opposable force, thus the

design that is used for them. He uses real knowledge and physics to base his

imagination off of. In a similar way, Tom Clancy writes historical fiction

with characters that aren’t characters, but that doesn’t mean it’s all false. He

uses real life tactics and technology made during that time, just creates a

story that is not true, while his designs are true.

Feelings also are true, no matter which way you look at it. Everyone

has feelings, even if the character is made up. Feelings are one of the few

universal truths to those who experience them. Everyone who fell in love

can attest to love, all who bore the hardship of sorrow can find common

ground and so forth. A character may be created in a book, but they

experience real feelings that people can reconstruct in their minds, the

hardship or joy. Just because the character is not real doesn’t mean it doesn’t

act like a person. Each character has to go through a screen like each of the

facts of the story, except this one is much different; they must feel emotions.

The author can describe the emotion in whatever way they can, but each
character feels the same core emotions as any real person, though the

situations may differ. Each character is based off of real life emotions,

feelings and personalities, and that makes each character able to be attested

to and understood by the reader.

Books can teach things better than articles can, but how can they do

this? One reason is because of how the information is presented. In an

article, scientists try to explain something, sometimes things that are

considered unexplainable. Scientists have tackled the hardest of things to

explain; feelings, how thoughts are formed exc. Some things can be

presented in a manner of “This does this and that is how it works” but some

things can’t be put in such a way. Also, everyone learns differently, which

means some people can learn better from books and some from articles, but

there are things that can’t be explained, like experiences. A scientist would

try to explain how it happened, while an author would put the person in the

situation. The scientist would say “The semi-mechanized division rolled into

their bunkers and sent defending fire back in his direction” while an author

would put it as “The shot roared overhead, shaking the ground beneath him.

He watched as more muzzles flashed to cover their retreat, as they slowly

but surely moved towards the mountains on the horizon, finding safety in the

looming peaks” These are two entirely different interpretations of the same
thing, an author captures the feelings of the event, not just recall it. The

author’s puts the reader into the participant’s shoes instead of telling the

reader what happens. The stress, the thoughts, the actions are all viewed

from the angle of experience, not the angle of explanation, and that is what

the difference is; delivery.

Some aspects of this question can only be seen, not explained, just

like many feelings and such that people feel. Feelings and personality cannot

be taught, only experienced. You can grasp at feelings you do not know, but

you can not teach someone to feel. If someone has never felt sorrow before,

you cannot explain them what sorrow is and expect them to be able to know

and feel it. Such things cannot be taught, but efforts can be made. Though no

explanation or demonstration will show everyone and they will understand,

many attempts have been made. And here is another to chalk up on that list.

‘The definition of love is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection

for another person.” Psychologists say that love is a cognitive and social

phenomenon, and individual psychologists have come up with numerous

theories to describe this phenomenon. Most theories rotate on a triangular

theory, or three different categories that make up love, which are similar to

this; intimacy, commitment, and passion. Intimacy is when two people share

personal details that they wouldn’t tell to everyone, usually in romantic love
affairs. Commitment is the dedication to the partner, assuming that the love

relationship is permanent. Passion is the sexual attraction and show of

feelings between the two people. All relationships are made of a mix of

these three elements, each to a varying degree fitting to each person’s

personality and feelings. Nature has found that animals are attracted to other

animals based off of positive traits also, which keeps those successful genes

going, and what is not successful let them fade and die. There was a theory

based off of electrical attraction, that opposites attract, which tends not to be

the case unless a beneficial trait is presented. The cycle then continues.’

An article can give a basic explanation of what we feel and think, but

not from how it feels, making novels better for matters of personality.

Science was created to explain, not to imitate. Novels were created to

entertain, teach, and explain. And although that is not always the case, it

evolved to using its feelings because that’s what works, and has worked,

keeping to the standards everywhere. This is not an award-winning piece of

literature, but it gets the point across, as fiction is supposed to do.

‘One glance. That’s all it took. A straying glance to help ignore the

teacher blabbing on in the front of the room. Their eyes met, unbeknownst

what would occur because of it. A simple glance, all that was necessary to

cause her image to be burnt into his mind, and his image into hers. He
viewed her in his mind, following the curves of her body to her beautiful

face while she followed his sculpted muscles in her mind. He took another

glance, just to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. At the same time, she looked

that way also, and their eyes met once again. Her face began to turn red as

he turned around to find the teacher over his desk.

“Have you been paying any attention to what I am saying?” she asked.

“Of course,” he replied.

“Than tell me what I just told you.”


“That’s what I thought. I want an essay on the cell and its mechanics on my

desk when I walk in tomorrow.”

“If you want one.”

The bell rang before any more words could be spoken, and she rushed

out of class, with him following closely in tow. He caught up to her, not to

her surprise.

“Hello, I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m James, and who are you?” James

asked her.

“Hello James, I’m Ashley,” she replied

“Ashley… That’s a nice name.”

“You’re new here, right?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Where’d you move here from?”

“We moved from California out here because my dad’s job. The only person

I know in this school is my cousin David, and I only know him vaguely.”

“That kinda sucks. Tell me about California.”

“California was nice, you could go from a day at the beach to skiing in the

mountains in an hour or two, and the views were spectacular.”

“Sounds awesome.”

“It was. It’s kinda lonely here, since I know no one and all.”

“I understand, but it happens. You just have to play with the cards they give

you and get the best you can from it.”

“Ya I guess. Here’s my room so I have to go.”

“I got a question, before you go.”

“What is it?”

“Can I have your number?”

“Well I guess since you’re one of the few people I’ve met so far.” She said,

her cheeks flushing.

“Sounds good.”
She gave him a piece of paper she had been holding in her hand as

they walked, smiled, and walked into the room. He looked down at the slip

of paper she gave him, saw the number and whispered a little “yes” to

himself, looking forward to talking to and seeing her again.

Two Weeks Later…

He walked with her out of Biology again, though this time he had a

little more on his mind than usual. As they walked, he thought about how to

say what was on his mind. As they strolled down the hall, they approached

the room she was going to and he stepped aside and she followed.

“What is it?” She asked.

“Well, I have a question to ask you,” he replied.

She tensed up, and her body language showing her nervousness. He

guessed she knew what he was going say, but he couldn’t just blow it off.

He looked her in the eye and asked;

“Will you go to homecoming with me?”

She paused for a moment, and her body relaxing, her features flexing

as she gracefully closed the gap between them and looked him straight in the


“Read my lips,” she said.

She placed him in her embrace, placing her lips against his in a quick

kiss, released him and flashed a smile as she walked into the room. He

quickly relaxed, and thought about homecoming the rest of the day.

Homecoming Night

They got out of the car and made their way into the building, rushing

to avoid the harsh cool October wind. Once inside, they made their way to

the dance floor and began to dance together. They danced together, each

appreciating the other one in their arms, and both fell into the rhythm of the

other’s movement. He watched her and fell into time with her, falling into

the swing of her hips in their melodic movement, each enjoying it as much

as they ever had before. And so they danced, back and forth to the music

until the dance floor became crowded, where they proceeded to move away

from the crowd, and found a little room all to themselves. They sat down

and began to talk about how much fun the night had become, and he

couldn’t help but notice the feeling about her, his feeling of enjoyment, and

his lack of worries, all of which seemed to be spurred by her presence. He

began to think about everything that had happened between him and her, and

he realized that something was happening. Like a magnet to metal, he was

attracted to her, and he knew not what he would do without her. He felt like
there was something similar in her, but she had not mentioned anything so

he couldn’t be sure. And then she said it:

“I like you. I like you a lot. The more I think about the more I realize how

much I do.”

His thoughts confirmed, he moved closer to her, and he put his arm

around her and he said it;

“I like you too.”

With that, he kissed her, their lips meeting in a quick kiss which he

released a moment later. He pulled back only to see the twinkle of her eyes

and realize this is where he belonged. He kissed her again, and they began to

caress and kiss some more, until they were satisfied, where they stopped and

he realized on little question he forgot to ask first.

“Will you go out with me?”

No reply was necessary, and they kissed again, wanting and hoping

this feeling would never go away, praying that the night would never end,

hoping they could be together for the rest of their life. Just the way it should


This short story was not meant to teach. It was fiction, it was a made

up event, but it was put there for a reason, put there as a tool for “argument

and explanation.” Just like fiction.