How Does Art Really influence Our Lives?

There is this belief that some realities are in fact shaped by art. Accordingly in this belief that some things are not discovered but once pointed out in art like in paintings for example, the thing is there.  This was pointed out by the great author Oscar Wilde in his essay called “The Decay of Lying.” Indeed, there is a thin line dividing art and reality as art on the other hand is influenced by reality.  Take for example the novels where most of the greatest literatures were inspired or influenced by the author’s personal experiences.


How Novels Shape and Influence Reality

Novels and literature in general sometimes provide a template on how people will react to a certain situation. It does not only present the world to us but also novels and other narrative endeavors also provide people with ideas on how to cope with reality. Thus, many novels challenged the cognitive thinking of human in so far as dealing with realities. One has to bear in mind that man has brain which gives the capacity to imagine.  It is in this imagination aspect that people develop their own reality.  As writers, it is their ability to create and present ideas on how people react on certain situations or create possible scenarios on what should be done when things happen.


The Case of Joyce Carol Oates “The Man Without A Shadow”

This book was published in January 2016 and like many novels of Joyce Carol Oates, it was met with controversies and criticism.  The book tells about the relationship of Margot Sharpe a new research assistant and graduate student and Elihu Hoopes also known in the book as E.H. The guy suffered anterograde amnesia which is an untreatable brain condition. In this condition, the patient remembers everything prior to occurrence of amnesia and cannot forge new memories. Apparently, this novel was inspired or based from a real life situation of HM who became known as the most famous amnesiac ever in the history of man. As it is based on true to life story, Miss Oates cited Professor Suzanne Corkin’s narrative on HM as the foremost source of her research material for this book.  It is not surprising certain similarities between the fictional and real life character and of course the laboratory where the events in the book are mostly held.

But, it is in the ethical and moral issues that Joyce Carol Oates courted controversy especially on the aspect of exploitation of research participant.  While this is no longer new idea, it is on ability of the author to realize what is inside on the mind of the patient.  But, the twist on the story about manipulation on relationship where Margot entered into a sexual affair with the patient and EH forgot about it is quite an ode to stereotyping.   This exploitation situation in the book is a clear manifestation of the author’s desire to present the power a woman and what she can do in a male dominated field.

So the question on “can novels influence our beliefs of reality?”  The book does present possible situations but because it is inspired from real life situation, it did not answer the question.  Instead, it reverses the situation on life imitating art; this one art imitates life.