As a response to this post from Shannon Hale and some really awesome YA authors. While they had good points, I didn’t necessarily agree. So I thought I would share my thoughts on morals in literature, in somewhat random order.
- I think you have an obligation when you write to write something edifying. If it isn’t edifying in some way, why would I read it?
- Edifying doesn’t mean preachy. It just means that you should have a sense of good and bad in it, and we should want the good to win.
- I don’t like swearing, sexual content, vulgarity, or too much violence in books, especially if it is viewed as acceptable. I find it sort of offensive. I’ll stop reading if it gets too bad. I want to be edified and seek out uplifting things, things that make me a better person.
- What you read affects you. E.g., if I read a lot of swearing, I’m more likely to swear. That’s the major reason for #3.
- This isn’t necessarily a rule, but I think the protagonist should be morally good in a significant way. Not in all ways, that would be silly. Maybe not even in most ways. But it has to be there. A good character is good.
- Actions (of a character) speak louder than words.
- I watched a move that was so good and uplifting. It made me go through and realize that I need to seriously look at my books. So I thought about my characters and the really good parts of them, and I wanted that to come out more in the book. I thought what the theme of my book was. All good stories are moral, after all. You can’t ignore morals. They’re a big part of life.
- Morality seems too narrowly construed sometimes. It isn’t just swearing and violence and whatever; it’s about bigger things, like honesty and courage and forgiveness and selflessness.
- There was a book that I won’t name, but it swore so horribly and had the most vile content. It’s a well respected book, and I actually studied it in a class. Lots of people loved it. But I never want to read about such disgusting things in such disgusting language. Things like that happen, but why would I ever seek it out? It was just an icky book and made me feel so icky inside, so I skimmed it all really quickly.
- Look at Anna Karenina. It explored the theme of adultery, and did it in an very honest way. In other words, it never, ever preached one way or another, but it represented the world (mostly) how it was, instead of creating false values and consequences. That is the perfect example of morals in a book.