Realistic Literature

What gives the intelligentsia, who don’t have a practical solution for the problems they speak of, the right to criticize modern literature and call commercial works of art balderdash? What is it that they’ve done except doing the possible that makes them think they can refer to the commercial qualities of a work as aesthetic flaws? Critics just simply make two categories for the written word, literary fiction and commercial fiction. Fortunately, they do believe that there is a middle category where fiction can also fall into. Unfortunately, they consider what is included in the middle category flawed.

But is it “flawed”? And if this category really does exist, doesn’t it deserve a decent name? If literary fiction is the perfect category, how is it that something so perfect is so abandoned? People do long for perfection in everything. And since neither commercial novels nor literary ones sell as much as the “intelligentsia” expect, maybe none of them is perfect. Asking modern people to read tedious literary books is somehow unrealistic, and actually expecting them to do so is just ludicrous. And judging people for their choices is not the way to fix what’s broken, if it’s broken at all.

So maybe it’s about time to get a little realistic. In a world where delayed gratification is not a sign of maturity anymore, and where technology gives the citizens of earth all the pleasure they need, it’s absurd to expect them to actually reading a book, because for people who have lazy imaginations due to visual entertainments, reading a literary book is too boring. And reading a commercial novel is not very interesting either. Why would they risk spending fifteen hours on something that might turn out to be no fun rather than watching a promising high-budget movie?

There are two reasons for what’s happened to the book industry. The first is the efficiency of its two colossal adversaries, the Movie and the Gaming industry, and the second is the deficiency of writers and the book industry. Writers seem to care whether about edification or just making money. A modern person would say “No, thanks. I don’t need saving” to the first kind of writer, and “I’d rather spend my money on something more fulfilling” to the second kind. So as much as ponderous Russian novels are appreciated and unsatisfactory erotic novels are welcomed, it’s safe to say that literary fiction is not perfect and commercial fiction, as the critics believe, isn’t the way to go either. That’s why a more sophisticated category must be introduced, Realistic fiction.

Realistic fiction is actually what they would refer to as ‘the middle’. Some writers tend to try desperately to get some sort of lifesaving message to readers through literary novels, and others, with the same insanity, struggle to find new exciting ideas in order to make more money. But the realistic fiction writer knows that the first one would only get praise from the critics and many many “No thank you”s from the readers, and that the second type is most obviously not going to be able to compete with the other industries. Instead of mourning over the number of, as the intelligentsia might refer to them, fools alive, he or she makes a literary novel commercial enough to compete with both the other categories and industries. Getting a message across, while keeping the reader on track by adding some excitement is not a flaw, nor is it unethical. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if it’s flawed or not. What matters is that every day fewer books are being sold and if writers keep going like that soon it will be fun for some to say “Who reads books anymore?”

If a writer is trying to save the world, he should adopt better writing strategies. He ought to be both literary and commercial like Harriet Beecher Stowe was writing Uncle Tom’s cabin. A realistic writer doesn’t complain. Instead he learns to work with what he has. He knows that he as well is heavily affected by technology and that if he thinks he’s enslaved by it and must set himself free, he should write more realistically and move faster instead of expecting technology to slow down. He knows that people are too depressed to read gigantic tomes today. So what he does is getting his message across and also giving the readers some sort of satisfaction…while entertaining them.

Work Criticised

Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense

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