How Fiction Can Change Reality

  1. Based on your experience, can fiction change reality? Discuss your views based on the ideas presented in the Ted-Ed video, “How Fiction Can Change Reality”
  2. Discuss what you see as the most striking, powerful, memorable, or interesting features of one of this week’s stories: “The Story of an Hour” or “Young Goodman Brown.” Explain your reaction to the text with specific examples.
  3. Focus the excerpt of Thomas Jefferson’s letter on (“On the Dangers of Reading Fiction”). Note passages where Jefferson writes of reading novels, “When this poison infects the mind, it […] revolts it against wholesome reading”; “The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real businesses of life” (45). Then, consider these questions:
    • Jefferson voices several common objections to fiction. Are these concerns still expressed today? Why or why not?
    • To what extent are Jefferson’s arguments similar to modern objections to the television, the Internet, etc.?

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