Gaining Self-Confidence Through Literary Characters
On the 23rd of April 2022 we celebrate World Book Day, Copyright Day and English Language Day! Doesn't it sound fabulous? Here we are, submerged in magical literary worlds, diving into the language - oftentimes English - which creates and opens up new literary spaces! The language can be likened to a bridge between the Author and the Readers, while books are the spacious fields of imagination and our future budding dreams.
Dear Readers, in order to celebrate, I would like to share with you my thoughts on reading. I have already discussed the notion of reading in this blog, but I would like to approach it yet from another angle. Reading is not only creating and projecting the future, making sense of the past and the world, learning, expanding imagination and one's inner horizons of empathy, but also it is the possibility of building a unique friendship with literary characters. As a child, I sought literary characters whom I could call my literary friends. Among these friends, one could find Winnie the Pooh and Piglet from A. A. Milne's uplifting tale and Lucy and Susan from C. S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia". I believe that the encounters with my literary friends helped me to build self-confidence and reshape into the person I hoped to be. Reshaping into the best version of oneself takes a lifetime, yet these early literary encounters are priceless. When I was five, both Lucy and Susan seemed very real to me, and they do not appear to be less real even now, while I am looking at the past from the adult perspective. As a five-year-old girl, I looked up to Lucy and I admired Susan. In a way, they became my role models. I admired Susan's maturity, sensibility, composure and sound judgement. Then again, for a change, I would hope to be like Lucy with her unquenched curiosity, limitless bravery and passionate heart. I believe that I actually looked up to the blend of Susan's and Lucy's personal traits.
In Winnie the Pooh, on the other hand, I found a kindred spirit and a supporter who would help me to further gain self-confidence and accept myself for whom I was: just like me, Winnie would be struggling with grasping the idea of the world surrounding him and, just like me, he would be looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses, trying to concentrate on beauty, joy, peace and delicious meals, regardless of the struggles the world would be bringing to him. Just like me, he would be slightly clumsy at times and he would be longing for a jar of honey in his homely, peaceful kitchen, and it would be enough for him. It would be enough for me too, I thought and I knew. Piglet, too, was my supporter - not always the bravest, but always standing by Winnie's side on their intricate journey through life and the Hundred Acre Wood.
During my literary journeys, I would be also encountering characters to whom I would look up to, but whom I would rather admire from a distance, knowing that they are like shining stars on the vast nightly horizon of my life - knowing that I could learn from them and hold them in my heart forever - but not identify with them. One such character would be Aslan from "The Chronicles of Narnia". The fact that I could not identify with him did not prevent me from gaining self-confidence through the encounters with this magnificent character: he taught me love, patience, acceptance and endurance. He has become the shining, guiding star on the vast horizon of my life.
On the whole, the more I would read, the more fully-fledged person I would become. I wouldn't say that I came up with a version of myself borrowed from Lucy, Susan, Piglet and Winnie but, decidedly, I found pieces of myself in these literary characters and the pieces which were mine and fit together with theirs; the pieces I had had no idea about until I saw them reflected in these unforgettable figures. Thus, my encounters with the literary characters did not transform me into someone else, but allowed me to spread the wings. Spreading the wings, gaining self-confidence and encountering literary characters through the mirror of the self is crucial for personal development of the youngest Readers. Yet, regardless of age, it is always a beautiful and valuable lesson, if only one finds enough conviction in one's heart to believe that a book reaches far beyond text and paper. I deeply believe so, therefore I would like to invite Everyone to reach for a book - not only on the 23rd of April! The power of the written word and the power of imagination are our unique abilities and defences - finally, they create the bridge to our growth, self-confidence and inner beauty residing within every person's soul. In my novel "Bunky and the Walms", Bunky is writing a novel himself, deeply believing in its plot and gaining confidence in himself as the potential Hero of the tale he is narrating. In this respect, the power of literature is limitless: it becomes the part of Bunky's reality and it allows him to become the true Hero of his own life, thriving as the best version of himself.
Dear Readers, what do you think? Please, share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! :) All in all, my biggest dream as an author is that, on reaching for "Bunky and the Walms", you will also encounter the characters who will become your precious friends - the characters who would reflect the pieces of your heart and mind so clearly that you will eventually feel at home with them!
We wish you so from our hearts! -
- Aleksandra (the authoress), Bunky, and the Bunky Princess (the protagonists of my novel "Bunky and the Walms" - The Book of the Year 2021' Awardee from the BREW Chrysalis Project!)
The 22nd of April 2022'