Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Because Art Communicates

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 Reading The Hunger Games brought me back to my college days- an eager English student, devouring novels and digging their depths to decipher what the author was saying, then compiling my answers into literary analyses. This text is so rich, so ripe with meaning, that I've been mentally stuck on it ever since I picked it up.

I debated whether this blog was the place for my thoughts. Blog posts should be short and to the point; few read them for deeper educational purposes. Beyond that, my blog genre is more along the line of Christian homemaking, marriage and motherhood. How would an in depth look at The Hunger Games fit underneath that label?

 But as I mulled it over, I came to a conclusion: the average reader of novels does not realize that what they are reading is bombarding them with subtle messages and worldviews. We read novels for pleasure, for the sheer delight of the story.

There is nothing wrong with this, the reason I enjoyed these books so much is because they made an excellent and compelling story. But if in your entertainment you do not realize that the words make more than a story, you are in great danger of being pulled whatever direction the author wants you to be.

All art seeks to communicate- visual, cinematic, theatrical, musical, rhetorical, etc.  Whether you are watching Sesame Street with your child or a new blockbuster with your husband, listening to the radio, viewing portraits at a gallery, or going to a play; there is a message being conveyed to you. Sometimes its simple and harmless, sometimes it is wholesome...and sometimes dangerous.

Your greatest danger, however, is being unaware. The greatest disservice you can do yourself is to check out mentally and just allow yourself to be mindlessly entertained. Because when you are taking ideas in unawares, you open yourself up to being persuaded by worldviews contrary to the Word of God; feminism, materialism, moral relativism, etc.

As parents especially, we need to be discerning about what we put before our children's forming minds. A steady diet of mainstream children's television and movies will easily fill your child's head with the notions that rebellion is healthy, parents are stupid, and there is no such thing as a moral absolute. I could write an entire post on this topic alone, but for today I'll leave it at this: it is even more important for parents to be critical thinkers when it comes to the arts and entertainment, as they are responsible for training their children as well as themselves.

It is essential for us to be purposeful and intentional in our reading, to engage mentally and to be discerning. In hopes of encouraging others towards this aim, tomorrow I will be sharing my analysis of The Hunger Games Trilogy. Nothing too academic, I promise. Just what I've been mentally digesting of late, and an example of how I attempt to think through what authors and artists are truly conveying.

Do you agree that all art communicates? Why or why not?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes yes! It most definitely does! I agree that the worst danger is being unaware. I think that we must always guard our hearts and minds, keeping the Word of God forefront, but we must also foster our ability to analyze and filter what goes in and out of our heads- through art, books, music, media, culture in general. Thanks for this post. I couldn't agree more.

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