Life,  Reading

Do You Have to Read a Lot to Write Well? The Importance of Aesthetics and Sympathy in Literature Education

Do you have to read a lot to write well?

The answer is obvious. of course not.

This is an overly categorical question. So the more common expression is this: My child likes to read, why can’t writing go up? Asking questions like this points to a crack in this logic, that is to say, liking reading should help writing, but now writing is not good, there must be something wrong.

Once you think about it, you will find the fragility of this problem. There are too many rhetorical questions that can follow. Does the child really enjoy reading? Or is it just a sign of academics, or even of being a good student? If you like to read, what kind of books does your child like to read? And, what are your children’s reading habits? More importantly, what constitutes good writing?

Every issue is worth re-watching. But I think that behind the question, we first need to deliberate on such a possible hidden logic: it seems that the value of reading can only be proved by writing. If writing is indifferent, reading is either denied or diagnosed as a disease. It’s like what happens to a caterpillar: only when it finally turns into a butterfly is its existence worth noticing. It has to be said that such a utilitarian gaze is still a kind of examination thinking. The existence of college entrance examination essays and the binding of the test-taking system have digitized all learning behaviors. Asking this question is actually a kind of test anxiety.

So, there is something wrong with the question itself. In order to escape the vortex of utilitarianism, we must endow reading itself with its subject position. I am not saying that comparing the two, reading should be more important. What I want to say is that there is no comparison, no judgment of who is better than another, or of higher value. Giving reading its own subject position is actually giving back a subject position to writing. This is the starting point when we think about two objects. They are independent of each other, and no one is subordinate to the other.


From here, we can see the path of reading and writing itself. For example, when we remove the cover of writing, we can see a richer landscape and its own branches when we think about the needs and values ​​of reading. Like the dark clouds dissipating, the light is tilted to the earth, and the reading is clearly discernible. The fluctuation of thinking, the expansion of knowledge, the joy of adventure, the self-sufficiency of being alone, and the need for self-dialogue all emerge faintly in the territory of reading. Likewise, writing is suddenly liberated. We will see the possibility of writing as an expression, the posture of thinking when writing, and the unlimited approach to language, and even the possibility of recording life or prolonging life.

But reading and writing are related, right? someone will ask. Of course, there must be. No one can deny such an obvious connection between them. It is like between two gardens that are close to each other, there must be countless paths connecting them. In the very first question, it was the overstatement of the channel that made both reading and writing vulnerable. But first of all, it is because this channel is natural and irresistible, so there is such publicity. In the existing practice, we have become accustomed to many paths, such as imitation exercises, such as the accumulation of good words and sentences, or the structural segmentation of reading corresponds to the structural segmentation of writing. However, it seems to me that something more important has been overlooked.

That is literature. If we want to better open up the channels of reading and writing, we must truly return them to literature.

This is like nonsense. Aren’t the works written by children part of literature? Difficult to answer. Let us step through this door slowly. In fact, in literature research, there are often calls and recognitions such as “returning literature to literature”. When they say this, they are often criticizing literature with excessively inflated social functions, such as the revolutionary realism literature we are familiar with. The so-called “return” is actually emphasizing the exploration and practice of literature itself, especially the form. In other words, it is the aesthetic orientation of literature. It includes awareness of literary language, the impact of literary images, and the beauty formed by sound. It is in this sense that many people believe that literature education can also be a kind of aesthetic education.

Therefore, whether it is reading or writing, from the perspective of cultivating aesthetic ability, we have not done enough. Among the several dimensions of Chinese teaching, some of the most important orientations have nothing to do with aesthetics, and some of the remaining connections have also been transformed into the training of rhetorical skills in many classrooms, or more precisely, the training of rhetorical skills Exam training.

In addition to aesthetic orientation, the other side of “returning literature to literature” is getting close to the characters. Most of the literature dominated by social functions will make the characters flat and full of posture. Because what they need is not a real person, but a character that exists as a symbol. But in freer literary creation, the author mostly looks for clues from his own winding emotions and ordinary and trivial daily life. Therefore, reading real literary works becomes a more delicate and sympathetic understanding of the characters. And in the process of understanding, the expression of literature will rely on a certain rhythm—the rhythm of narrative, or the rhythm of language, so that the images and emotions of the characters can be rendered with aesthetic feeling, gain real emotional power, and thus go to a deeper level. sympathy. This kind of understanding and sympathy, in my opinion, should be one of the other tasks in literary education that should not be neglected.

Therefore, when reading literature, one should also be aware of the need for aesthetics and the importance of sympathy in addition to value discussions and emotional expressions. These are the unique charms of literature. And if we find that good writing also has these core dimensions, then the road from reading to writing will be “the mountain is high and the moon is small, but the truth will come out”. We can even imagine this: when you show a child the unique features of literature and the beauty and emotion that only it can produce, the child naturally hopes to create such beauty and emotion in his own writing.

Good writing has the same undertones as good reading. This shared landscape brings reading and writing together. Therefore, pointing the writing to the college entrance examination composition is not too high, but too low. Zhang Dachun said in “Article Freedom”: “If you can’t practice your composition with the ambition and expectation of writing articles, you just follow the law and don’t know Yiyuhu’s background. In the end, the results we receive are the feelings of one generation and the next generation.” Empty thinking, boring language, and shallow knowledge.” The ambition and expectation of writing articles come from truly excellent reading. This is not a question of who needs whom, but a natural connection.

Therefore, in such eyes, both parents and teachers have the ability to open up a land where reading and writing can interact freely. For example, starting from “The Memories of Autumn”, we added a large number of other works by Shi Tiesheng, and focused on appreciating the “Symphony of the Four Seasons” in the third chapter of “The Temple of Earth and Me”. The scenery of spring, summer, autumn and winter overlapped with Shi Tiesheng’s different moods as they changed scenes. In addition to feeling the impact of literary beauty, students also got close to Shi Tiesheng. And in several writing tasks, we asked students to substitute Shi Tiesheng’s perspective, or write the meditation in the altar, or write the “unsent letter”. Whether it is reading or writing, it all starts with Shi Tiesheng and returns to Shi Tiesheng. Among them, beauty and emotion are both present.

In fact, no matter choosing books, guiding children to share, organizing classes, or writing, you can think more from the perspective of aesthetics and sympathy. I always believe that when literature produces the ability of aesthetics, a reader will re-examine his own life with such eyes. And in the sympathy that he carries with him, he will delicately perceive the suffering and pain of others, so as to show understanding and sympathy. The ideal life of a community is nothing more than this.

error: Content is protected !!