There are plenty of things I’m not very sanguine about, but on the whole, I have a fairly optimistic view of human nature. I think people are mostly good and that there’s not as much bad as it’s easy to think there is.
Sometimes, though, it can be hard to hold on to that view. And this leads me to one of the many, many wonderful things about reading:
Stories gives me hope.
There are sad books. There are disturbing books. There are bad books. But on the whole, guess what? Good conquers evil. There’s something enormously comforting about that. Stories that are thousands of years old have that intrinsic hope. Stories that we share with each new generation have that intrinsic hope.
The wolf doesn’t kill Little Red Riding Hood. She gets saved.
The evil queens in various fairy tales are defeated.
Even the curse (a nonhuman “enemy,” if you will) in Beauty and the Beast is broken by love.
I’m not naive. I know that’s not the way the world really works. But stories give me hope that supporting what is right will never be a mistake. They give me hope in the power of decency, goodness, and honesty.
After all, in a quote often attributed to Neil Gaiman:
Fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.
That is real magic.