chapter  7
25 Pages

How Fiction and Poetry Work Their Magic

ByMartha C. Pennington, Robert P. Waxler

Language and story are a key aspect of language users' cognitive and emotional architecture, and of their psychological and social selves as individuals and also as part of a community of others. Fiction is a category of linguistic genre, typically written, whose purpose is to move people into their imaginations and then to take them on an enjoyable – and, in the best case, enriching – psychological journey in that imaginary space created through language. Fiction is psychological in nature, working mind-to-mind, as a reader channels the thoughts and feelings of a writer through the writer's words. A literary poem is an aesthetic object, an object of beauty which, like other beautiful things, produces an emotional effect in those who absorb its language. It is clear that the genres of literary prose and poetry deal with topics differently than these other genres, representing things in a deeper and often less explicit way.