Let Fictions Teach You History - Dragons News

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Let Fictions Teach You History

By Irene Jung  (G. 10)
Poster of Gone with the Wind.
Poster of The Imitation Game

Extraordinary stories are formed when the fictive world includes history in its realm. When combined, history and fiction yield many possibilities for interesting stories, clearly benefiting from their own synergistic effect. While some stories have been criticized due to their distortion of the history they involve, some historical fictions have incorporated history perfectly and gained international fame. The two best examples are Gone with the Wind and The Imitation Game.

Gone with the Wind is written by an American author called Margaret Mitchell. First published in 1936, it has been adapted as both a movie and a musical. Gone with the Wind sets its background in Clayton County and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. While the novel mainly focuses on its main character Scarlett O’Hara’s growth, it still reveals some of the most prominent features of the time period. A notable example is the class system. The characters are classified into either the white planter class or the black slavery class, which imparts the reader an insight into the culture of America in the mid 19th century. Thanks to such quality, Gone with the Wind has survived for nearly eight decades and is still beloved by numerous readers around the globe.

Unlike Gone with the Wind, The Imitation Game is a modern work. It is a movie directed by Morten Tyldum, which was released in 2014. It sets its background in Britain during World War II. Alan Turing, one of the main characters of the movie, is based on an actual historical figure and embarks on the mission to decode the Nazis’ secret code. After an uncountable number of failures, he and his teammates invent an early version of the computer and eventually succeed in their mission. In this manner, The Imitation Game focuses on a relatively unknown part of history and brings it to light.

Both Gone with the Wind and The Imitation Game make history more easily approachable with their intriguing stories. Granted, these stories tend to exaggerate a part of history for the sake of an interesting plot, but it is nonetheless true that they successfully impart some extent of historical knowledge to the audience. By reading or watching historical fictions, people can better recognize the past events that they would not have known about without exposing themselves to such stories. Thus, it is safe to say historical fictions are effective learning tools for those who aim to learn more about history.

Now, the final question remains. Why is history important? Why should we even bother to know more about it? The answer will vary depending on individuals, but the general response would be this: history is worth knowing because it tells the audience how humanity has gotten to this point, and how all of us should lead our way through the future. Such knowledge is especially beneficial for students as they are in the process of training themselves so that they would later fit into the society. Therefore, it is highly advantageous for the KIS Dragons to equip themselves with historical knowledge—especially through historical fictions as they are utterly entertaining.

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