Reading for Escapism

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.

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