Theater of the Mind

         This day and age, reading has been taken over by the availability of films, books on tape and internet sites with any book summary you could imagine. Most people do not have time to sit down and actually read a good book. Our society has made it easier by offering films to watch, which add a visual element, books on tape, which can be listened to on the road, and are considered a great form of "theater of the mind." In this fast-paced world today, books are too long to read, these other options are short enough for us to sit down and watch, listen, or summarize on the Internet.

         The visual element movies give us is something that helps us understand the author's original work. In The Innocents, directed in 1961 by Jack Clayton, I was able to understand the story so much better than The Turn of the Screw. Written in 1898 by Henry James, this novella about a governess and two possibly possessed children in a country home was confusing and vague. The film, with its visual element of the characters and events, was easier to understand and to enjoy. This film actually scared me a bit. The visual element helped me even more in the 1939 movie Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler. Emily Brontë's 1847 book took me a long time to get into and understand. I could not visualize in my mind and understand what was going on. Aside from the visual element movies help convey, books on tape are a great way to help time pass on a long car ride.

         My main problem is that I have a hard time getting into reading. Books on tape help the book move along faster. Reading puts me to sleep. Listening to the book on tape would help me better visualize what is actually going on in the book. Most people do not have time to sit and read an entire book; with books on tape they can do other things while enjoying a good book. None of the books we read in this class came on tape; but, if they would have, I would have rather have listened instead of sitting down having to read the whole book.

         The Internet makes it easy for people to decide what books they would like to read. One can find any summary of any book on the Internet; sometimes one can even find the whole book on the Internet, which for some is easier to do than to buy the book and try to read it. With the World Wide Web people can enjoy reading at work too. One can read the summary and decide if one would like to read the actual hard copy of the book. In my case, I would read the summary and then the book because it helped me understand the story better, knowing a little of what was going to happen in the story.

         The films have helped us to better understand literary works, the books on tape help us enjoy literature when we have other stuff to do, and the Internet makes it easy for us to decide if we would like to read the book. Though films, books on tape and the Internet can never replace reading literary works, they are making this fast paced world more enjoyable.

Brandy Couleas

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