The True Anatomy of A Book: Communication Through Literature

An actually autistic view on how literature communicates the past, present, and future to its reader. 

A book with whites pages open on a brown surface

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

The true anatomy of a book is not just what you see on the page. It's what you take away from it in understanding the author and our society. Books are a mirror to life, documenting everything that was important to an individual or group at that time. Books offer readers personal insight into other people’s lives, and help us learn about ourselves by providing examples of different points in history and social conflicts. They also offer insight into societal evolution as they show how we have changed over time. Humanity is often obsessed with the past, and this is seen in history books, but we can also learn about our future by looking at predictions made in novels. In terms of social conflicts, there are many books that offer insight into the thoughts and feelings of people who have lived through very difficult times such as slavery or war. When you read a book you are not just reading words, but imagination and possibility. Comparing dystopian novels to the future Looking at works of fiction is fascinating because they show what we as a society are afraid of and how far we might go to stop it from happening. They also offer insight into the past by showing things that were considered normal at one time but now seem horrific, such as slavery or child labor. Think of The Road by Cormac McCarthy depicting cannibalism and assault. These are taboo and considered heinous acts in society today, yet it is predicted as the future state of humanity. In a prophetic way, George Orwell's 1984 predicted the use of surveillance in a way comparable to the present day. If history is doomed to repeat itself, then literature is the living example of how things happen, how to prevent it, and the inevitable possibility of the future. The Handmaids Tale by  Margaret Atwood depicts the use of surrogacy, technological advances that favor men in society, and a capitalist dystopia. The protagonist is subjugated to slavery as a class system has been set up. This is not an unheard-of phenomenon, on one level or another the patriarchy dictates how women treat their bodies. The odds are in the favor of men, and women continue to be a marginalized population. Good literature is a reflection of life and people. In turn, every person has their own perspective on the world that influences what they read.  At what point is the reader being subjective with their interpretations or hearing the imagination of an author from decades ago predicts the possible outcomes of society. Alice in the future Alice Through The Looking Glass by  Lewis Carroll is a good example of how the future can be interpreted. The book was released in 1872, but its influence on modern society and literature cannot go unnoticed. One major theme throughout Alice’s journey through time is her changing body image. As she travels further into Wonderland (or Underland as it is referred to in Through The Looking Glass) Alice is met with increasingly more abstract and unfamiliar landscapes. In comparison, her physical body is changing as well to fit these new surroundings. This theme of Alice’s changing identity can be related back to society today through the growth in technology use from 1872 till present day 2017.  Plastic surgery has seen extreme advancements in modern times. Sometimes surgery is used for conformity, personal gratification, or for medical necessity. In 2017, there were over 11 million cosmetic surgeries performed (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). The anatomy of a book The anatomy of a book has changed greatly since 1872 with advancements in technology and societal ideals.  A book was once seen as an expression of the author’s mind and ideas. Now, it is a historical account of society and social norms at that time in history.  The anatomy of a book is more than just the pages, but the contribution to society from the mind of great thinkers. 

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