Has any piece of literature affected me in a major way? The short answer is no. I do not believe so, though I may be proven wrong in the future. However I seem to be under some sort of prohibition from giving the short answer in this case, so I will try to artificially multiply the number of words used to describe this simple answer exponentially.
I am going to start with an easier to grasp concept of “affected.” It may be unconventional, but if you think about it, it seems much more obvious. The book most likely to affect me in this way would be “Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life,” by Jason Hanson. This ex-CIA officer’s most known work provides a host of tips, tricks, and techniques which can literally be life savers. It also gives a list of gadgets to purchase to survive many kinds of inclement situations. If I decide to master all 12 chapters, I will be able to escape duct tape, know when I’m being followed, be able to smash through a barricade, and pretty much surprise anyone out to get me. However, I have no intentions of sacrificing my Faulkner education for all that just yet; and I have as of yet experienced no crisis that would give me the motivation to do so.
So that is one reason why I give my answer, but that is not sufficient. “Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life” doesn’t even really count as literature! When the question in sentence one is read, generally a different reason is given for the answer. Has any piece of literature affected my thinking?
The answer to this question is an obvious yes. Every human in Western civilization has been affected by literature for hundreds of years, whether they realize it or not. I have read many, many books, and I can guarantee that a large portion of them have raised questions and opened new doors. It is the tag “in a major way”, which I conveniently left off last paragraph, that starts to complicate matters.
“In a major way” is very vague. It can mean anything from getting one to spend $100 less on McDonalds each month, to preventing one breaking up with a spouse, to convincing one that God must exist, or else nothing would make sense. This makes the answer to this question a little hard to “prove” correct.
Despite this ambiguity, I would probably say no…? (Intentional–no typos) As far as I can tell, no single piece of literature has steered my path down life in a different direction. Despite being a fantastic book, “The Bondage of the Will” on its own has not made me decide to be a monk. If I have to be picky though, the book(s) that have affected me the most emotionally has been the “Bell Mountain” series. I don’t know exactly why or how. I don’t even know if what I just typed is completely true. But it is what I remember.
So that is why I believe the answer is no.
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