When reading contemporary world literature, I tend to focus a lot on who the characters are. I enjoy the plot lines, but I also enjoy looking into how the author has made each character’s personality and struggles to get across a deeper message to the reader. A message that whether the author consciously includes or not, affects the way the reader thinks about life.
In Please look after mom the relationship of the father to the mother really spoke to me, I saw some aspects of myself in his behavior and made me consider some of the regrets he had when he lost his wife. One of the things he did that reminded me of myself was the way in which he lost her in the first place. I’m a tall guy and when I walk my own pace not paying attention to who is walking with me, I will often leave them behind. The same way in which he walked ahead losing his wife in the crowd, if only he had slowed down for her, the book could have ended there and the heartache would never have taken place as it did. Although My fiancé is also a tall girl and can generally keep her own pace with me, I know when I have children or perhaps a friend walking with me in a new place. I really do need to slow down and pay attention to how closely they are walking behind me.
The daughter in please look after mom regretted her relationship, or lack thereof, with her mother. And causes the reader to stop and think, do I really know my mother? Is she more than just someone who raised me? Or do we have the “Mom was just, Mom” mentality portrayed in the book. All the characters in please look after mom regretted the way they had treated there mother, and although they all started by blaming one another, ultimately all they could think about was what they personally could have done differently.
In Arabian nights and days by Naguib Mahfouz, the essence of self-reflective, psychological messaging, is still present. For example when the genie comes in a dream and Sanaan Al-Gamali, and tells him that he can choose to do his bidding, or die. He chooses to live, but is then forced to do evil. It’s like putting a gun in the middle of a room and telling 2 people, here’s the deal, you shoot the other, or you shoot yourself, but only one of you will leave this room alive. Will you be the kind of person who will lay down his life for another, greater love hath no man. Or would you save yourself. I know what option I would choose, but it’s the kind of thoughts that go through your mind when you wonder what you would do if placed in the same situation. If you chose to sacrifice yourself, you would have no regrets. But if you chose to save yourself, causing harm to another, no matter how much you justified it by telling yourself they were corrupt and evil person, it would still haunt you for the rest of your life.
In My Micheal, a novel written by Amos Oz. We are forced to contemplate the way in which we treat our significant other. A man reading that book may think to himself. Am I that distant, do I not give her enough attention. Perhaps work, a sport, hobby, or even friends take priority over her leaving her in the backburner. Although my fiancé is at the top of my priority’s, second only to God, I still think too much of my time is enveloped in work. Between a full load at school, being a manager, and having to drive an hour and a half to work. I don’t have as much time for her as I would really like to.
My Micheal also speaks to the female reader, and although I can’t say what a woman would get out of the book. It seems to me she would begin to question her attitude towards men. In my opinion, some of the reasons I don’t like Hannah, can be seen in many women. Though exaggerated in this book, I wonder if a woman reader would see, do I really have that attitude? As mentioned by a classmate, Hannah is not a very likeable person, and I would agree with that.
I think books have a lot to teach us. Some of us consciously observe how what we read effects the way we think and some do not. But whether you are a conscious observer or not, books will always affect you, so be careful little eyes what you read.