How Reading Makes Us Human, By Karen Swallow

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Jessica Gilgan J. Lindberg English 1102 10 January 2014 In “How Reading Makes Us Human,” Karen Swallow Prior quotes multiple psychologists, professors, and writers in regards to how literature influences a reader. The generalized idea found between these sited individuals appears to be an assumption that the word “good” or “great” is an acceptable term to use while discussing literature and those who read it. Frequently throughout this article, literature and its readers are described in somewhat of a positive, or “good,” light. A few examples may include questions that arose in the sited works of the aforementioned professionals, such as “Does Great Literature Make Us Better?” (Gregory Currie’s essay) or “Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter…show more content…
However, can the same be said when the author refers to the reader as “good”? The terms that the author supports her meaning of “good” include “moral”, “nice”, and “empathetic”, all which illustrate those who read good literature as positive people. As someone who thoroughly enjoys reading, I have to disagree with the overall opinion of this thesis. I feel as though the last sentence in the article written by Prior, “Such reading doesn’t make us better so much as it makes us human,” should have been more elaborate, as reading the title of said article suggests. Instead, Prior spends the majority of the article quoting others as they see literature as a means of improvement for a person’s spirit, or soul. I agree with that last idea presented by Prior in conjunction with her earlier statement, “Reading is one of the few distinctively human activities that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.” Unfortunately, that idea seems to have not been explored as thoroughly as it could have been. Yes, reading makes us human, touches the human soul, but who is to say that it is only in a positive

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