It’s a tough one isn’t it? We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images. The programmes we watch, the games we play are built up around sophisticated graphics. And for the younger generation, this is the norm. Gone are the days of accepting poor quality blocky graphics on a computer screen. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s called progress. Even I, who am not a fan of computer games, can not help but be impressed with the latest offerings from the games designers. But, is it enough? If we just watch, if we simply accept the images that are chosen for us, what do we gain from the experience?
I’m not suggesting that entertainment is a bad thing, we all need some down time. What I do feel, most strongly though, is that the experience of passively watching a film is far surpassed by the experience of creating those images for yourself. Our two eldest have gone to watch ‘The Hunger Games’ this afternoon. I have no qualms about the violence; it’s part of the plot, rather than gratuitous for the sake of shock factor. That’s a whole other debate which I know has sparked some conflicting views over the past few weeks since the film’s release. What bothers me is that neither of the girls have read the whole book yet, which means that it will be the images of the film maker which will be imprinted on their brains. When they do go on to complete their reading of the trilogy, they won’t be able to help but see the faces of Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as the story unfolds.
My question is, doesn’t that take away from the joy of a good read? I don’t want to be dictated to, I want to be able to unpick the author’s words and make my own choices about the landscape which unfolds before me. Read first, then go and see the film, once you have allowed your mind’s eye to fill in the purposeful gaps left by the author. My version of a character is bound to differ greatly from someone else’s and that’s what makes the reading of a story so unique, so personal.