While watching The Breakfast Club last night there was a particularly touching scene where the hobnob of characters sit on the floor and share various bits of their lives. I did not appreciate the entire movie, but I felt this one scene contained the moral of the story. The characters began the movie hating each other and just hoping to make it through the 8 hours of detention, but in this scene they realized they’re all basically the same. They all had problems, doubts, and laughter inside and around them, even if it came out and in various ways. In this circle consisting of a princess, a jock, a criminal, a geek, and a loner, they found that they all possess the same basic ideas and thoughts. Individually, they found a group that cared about who they were, even though they would have never under normal circumstances grouped together. I’m sure this was meant to simply be a touching scene amidst the criminal activity, violent actions, and boredom that they experienced within detention, but it really made me think about how we interact with each other.
As people, we often are scared to ask someone how they are or what their past or current life is like, because we are afraid to offend or appear nosy. The question why is something we have been taught as a society to never ask about someone’s actions, because we either don’t want to know or it might appear rude. We definitely don’t ask things about people’s past, because it might offend someone. Maybe in reality though, the reason people don’t open up to others is because we’re all just waiting on someone to ask. Why share something about yourself when you don’t know how the other person will respond? It’s easier to share when you know the other person wants to know the answer, since they asked. If we all just took a little more time to care about what’s going on in each other’s lives, maybe we could have more moments like in this movie where we realize that boundaries between people are not necessary because we’re all basically the same.
That thought moves me into why I read. Sometimes when I think about this question, my answer is to escape from reality. That answer is partially true, but there’s more to it than that. Part of me wants to connect to people, but as a mentioned before that is hard to do in a society where asking about personal issues is a taboo. That’s another reason why I read. In a book, characters spill information freely and I am simply a bystander learning. While it’s not entirely the same as connecting to a human, it does offer a chance to connect to someone. I also read for the connection to the author. There are those moments, that I’m sure all avid readers understand, where an author writes something (through a character) that just makes sense. There are those moments where I read something that I thought only I thought about, and I connect to the author and the character at the same time. These moments are a reminder that I’m not alone in how I think and feel. When the world seems cold and uncaring, I read in order to find those moments of connection.
Oh yeah, by the way, part of this post is inspired by the fact that I just finished Eli the Good (again).