One day, in one of my English classes this past year, my professor – who just happens to be the head of the English department at Randolph-Macon College – said something like this: “We don’t read for escapism. We read to critique.”
I was quick to debate his point. Although I enjoy literary analysis, it’s not as fun as just sitting down to read and losing yourself in a story. When I read for pleasure, it is indeed a form of escapism.
There have been times where books are all I’ve had to keep me sane. For me, books are an easy way to escape because I can focus on the characters’ problems instead of my own. I can forget about reality for a little while. And there are some characters who help me understand myself and therefore help me cope with what I am going through in life.
If I’m reading a good story, it speaks to me and the characters become family. I know they’re not real, of course, but they might as well be. They characters are a source of confidence and a boost to my self-esteem. It may sound silly, but it’s true. I wouldn’t be where I am today without some of them. Nor would I be as self-aware as I am.
So, at least for me, reading and escapism go hand-in-hand. They are one and the same.