From the beginning of this year, I have been having trouble reading the whiteboard at school (there’s a point to this story, I promise). I went to the optometrist and discovered that I need glasses. Since the appointment, I have really noticed how bad my eyes actually are. The optometrist put some lenses in front of my eyes, one of which made the writing across the room suddenly clear. Before then, I’d never noticed that I can’t see the finer details of other people’s faces when they’re across the room from me. I’d never noticed how the text on shop signs is always blurry until I’m only a few feet away. I thought it was normal.
We all think our perspective on life, whether it be our values or something as simple as our vision, is the same as everyone else’s until we meet another person who is different. This is especially true in our younger years before we start school. I never really knew my brother was overweight until kids at school starting making fun of him for it. I didn’t know I was a socially awkward nerd-kid until other kids started pointing out that I use bigger words than what they’re used to.
I think this sort of thing can be applied to characters in books, especially those in fantasy. Often these books, especially within the young adult age group, start with a character with a narrow view of the world. Then a vampire or a werewolf or a flying spaghetti monster comes along and shakes them up. Suddenly, they see things differently. The world is so much different to what they previously thought. There’s magic in the world, or maybe there’s a possiblilty that little Susie actually can read the writing on the poster with the bright colours on the other side of the classroom.
After all, isn’t it said that art imitates life?