Writers have the power of transporting their audiences into the strangest beliefs, if not entire worlds. In fact, this is the duty of the writer: that no matter what world he or she creates, its ideologies must be real and entirely persuasive. If this is true, you don’t have to agree with the book’s ‘morals’ or ‘messages’ to ‘like’ the book. In fact we often delight in the aligning with a murderer or logically crippled mind when this is not the case. These novels may be even more persuasive and relatable than ones whom the morals are conventional and good (and by extension, its ideas as well, conventional and good.)
Before reading The Picture of Dorian Grey I had been lectured, repetitively it seemed, on the importance of dandyism and the aesthetes group. Just like I could banish nuclear fears into a thinly veiled fantastical interest-arousing device, I waived the importance of these seemingly irrelevant ideas. When would the lecture get to the heavy ideas of the story? How is possible just knowing the rituals of vanity its characters had and the fashions they admired, figure in my understanding of the most important aspects of this work? Actually, as I opened up the page, I was given my immediate answer. Dandyism and aesthetes were everywhere-my perception of them, however, had changed.
Ideas themselves must be moral or loosely align with your personal values to be persuasive. Those limit themselves to party platforms, brochures, and the such. That is not to say they cannot bend the mind into believing ill-thought of things; they just do so by clever trickery of language. Stories however have the unique ability to ramble on for hundreds of pages over fictional things. Ideas are offered, but intricately stuck into a world which is so compelling the ideas are irrelevant. We might read an idea like a person. The idea-person is so interesting we forget that the idea-person might be flawed out of the context of the novel and for a moment fully engage in the fictional as if it were real.
Now I understand what my professor is saying when she talks on and on about these strange mannerism and ideas. The fallacy of summaries is that they are not stories; they are just a summary of ideas. And the summary of a story into ideas, unsupported by any supplementary explanations, will fall into the party platform category of moral delineation.