It’s probably a given that story has the power to bring about change in the reader.
I’ve already discussed learning and empathy in a previous post, but it has long been recognised that reading good literature encourages self-reflection and change.
In an article from the New York Times:
Could a writer have an indirect influence of this kind, getting readers to think about themselves anew? We believe so. Indeed, in several studies over the past few years, we have found evidence that such influence is characteristic of literary art.
Volunteer subjects rated themselves on their personality traits and emotions before and after reading. Participants were given one of eight short stories or one of eight essays to read and afterwards were asked to score themselves again on their personality ratings.
Those who read a story or essay that they judged to be artistic changed their personality scores significantly more than did those who judged what they read to be less artistic.
If a thing’s worth writing, it’s worth writing well. As a writer you have the power at your fingertips to encourage your readers to reflect on themselves and to consider change.
The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.