The Historical Role of Writers and Authors in Society

 

 

 

 

 

I believe our global world is teetering on a precipice or an abyss. However we wish to view our global situation, because there are too many dictators that have now gained power. The supposed purpose of our American Democratic Republic was, and hopefully will be again someday, for religious freedom and economic prosperity. Democracy, however, is losing.

Therefore, in my opinion, writers can and should share their views.  The governmental policies are everyone’s business, because our lives, how we live our lives, are dependent upon on our written and verbal voices.  Writers have a voice, an audience, a vibrant and often collective voice.

Fiction, especially, is a vehicle to express societal needs and wants for a better life. Consider A Tale of Two Cities, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Scarlet Letter, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Roots, and so many others.  All of these written works represent writers speaking out about the horrors of tyranny placed on people of poverty, of color, of sex, and of faith.

Furthermore, all of the above classic literature, speaks to the appalling human conditions forced onto society by tyranny, greed, hate groups, ignorance, and loathe. The cruelty of mankind is a poison without a cure…unless humankind speaks loudly, writes loudly about injustice, poverty, bullying, hate, fear, racism, greed, and tyranny.

For instance, religion is a set of beliefs based on faith, a policy of doctrine, and religion has changed lives, for better or worse, consider: The Malleus Maleficarum, The Salem Witch Trials, The Trail of Tears, The Holocaust, Roots, and so many other travesties and horrors, based on tyranny or tyrannical religious precepts, basically humans being inhuman. I say this, because some forms of religion do not wholly, truly represent the founding of beliefs that a prophet gave to people of a certain time in history.

All religions are faith and politically based beliefs—by speakers, writers, authors, and preachers. Our lives are based on faith. Faith is what we believe to be a given right: freedom to pray, to think, to express our beliefs, and nothing is more political than the faith of our choice.  It is our right to believe in a higher power or not to believe, and we all believe differently.

Our collective belief in a democratic republic is policy-based, and we came to believe in a democratic republic as written by authors, who expressed their views, their faith in the ability to tell us stories, stories that are based on democracy or tyranny. We, as writers and authors, are at another dangerous point in our humanity.

We should and can choose to write short stories, novels, and commentaries that support our democratic republic; if not, we will fail miserably to defend our right to write stories. Without this right, we may see our written work burned in the fire of a tyrannical and often insane dictator.

As it is today, so many great written works are on the banned books list and are not allowed in libraries. Who knows? Your religion could be next or any and all religious doctrine based in faith, could be banned and our writing banned as well.

Whether tyranny is religious or theoretical, what we believe collectively becomes the law of the land. The voices of our written work: our novels, our commentaries, our short stories, our speeches, all are critically important to our way of life, our democracy.

Our lives depend on the written word that will reflect our collective voice for freedom of thought, of choice, of faith in our union as Americans.  What we allow to endure, without our voices, will be our fall from grace.

 

Published by

Karen DeMers Dowdall

Karen DeMers Dowdall was born in West Hartford, Connecticut. She has lived in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and England. Karen has a PhD, MSN, BSN, RN in Nursing from Florida Atlantic University. “Books of every genre teach us about life, how we think, and view the world." She has written poems and little short stories since she was a child. Karen loves art, she enjoys drawing, painting in oils, pastels, colored pencils, and doing portraiture. She has also taken ballet, Jazz, and modern dance since she was three years old and owned her own dance studio.

61 thoughts on “The Historical Role of Writers and Authors in Society

  1. Andrew, I suppose it was serendipity, because I had no idea this was the Banned Books Week and the celebration of creative and intellectual freedom. Thank you for telling me! Perfect! Karen 🙂

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  2. With fiction in particular, I think literature supports our democratic society by being subversive. When a character from a particular marginalized or stereotyped group is portrayed as a human being whom we identify with, we think twice about stereotyping their counterparts in real life. I hope.

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    1. Yes. Literature does support to a degree, yet not enough to make a difference. People are still marginalized by color, sex, poverty, and culture. It is worse today than it was two years ago, The worse of humanity in America have raised their voices, once silent in shame and fear of reprisal. It is because of the present leadership in America. that they have come out of their silence, to hate at leisure and also to hurt others in anyway they can. At least thirty-five percent of Americans fall into this category. Thank you for your comment Liz and perhaps you don’t live in America at this time where people of color and culture are stigmatized, lives threatened and live in fear much of the time. It is not even safe, it seems to attend a church or other religious house of worship. Sorry, but I have seen too much of this kind of hate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly, I do live in America. The hate is so widespread and virulent, I can’t comprehend it. My dad was active in the Civil Rights movement and devoted his life to fighting for those oppressed by racism and poverty. To see evil now prevail breaks my heart and fills me with despair.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LIz, also, you must be so proud of your Dad. wow, what a brave and brilliant man! I feel shocked, by what is happening, but I do not feel beaten down, that is what they want and I am determined to fight their hate filled words with words and actions of my own. If writers would just group together and filled Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and everywhere with their thoughts on what is happening in America…it would soon change everything. Light always conquers darkness.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a well written and well expressed article, Karen. I am right there with you in believing that we are currently teetering on the edge of a world-wide dictatorship with the suppression of anything that opposes the general beliefs. There are two opposing forces at work at the moment and we do not yet know which one one come out on top but, given human nature and fears, it is more likely to be the oppressors.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Robbie, thank you so much and thank you for being with me on this subject. I was worried that it might be a little too strong a position, but apparently I am not alone…thank you and everyone else who has responded with the same feelings. And you are right, it is almost always the oppressors, because they speak out and convince others to believe them, even though, it is no way enhances their lives…it makes everything terrible and too late they realize they have been mislead. It is like Nazi Germany and by the time they realized the truth…their lives were ruined as well as their faith. Many people think that it can’t happen here…but oh…it surely can and it is well on it’s way, if we don’t speak out, write about it and speak loudly. Thank you again, Robbie!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Robert and yes writing about democratic ideals of fairness and equality is critical to our way of life and you are very brave to do so and I am reminded that it only takes a few to begin to form a large group, who have been afraid to speak out and to write about it. It is people like you and others that have commented here and who feel the same…that make a difference. Thank you, Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. KC, I had no doubt that you would comment here, as I already know that you feel as I do and as others here feel too. It is time to speak out, loudly, and to write loudly too. We must do whatever we can to help prevent what is happening in America. We are losing Democracy a little bit, every day. We have no choice but to nip it in the bud…although I am afraid it is more the a bud…and growing quickly. So, I plan on doing twitter, and Facebook already gets all my writing and all of those who do speak out loudly. We just need lots more people and they will begin to speak out more loudly too. Thank you KC, so much, Karen 🙂

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    1. Brigid, thank you for commenting and speaking out too. I hope also, but it takes our voices to make changes that count. I don’t know about Ireland, but I do know what is happening here, in America and it is not good. Little by little, the tyranny voices at the top get stronger and take away more things that make America a good place to live. I have never thought America was great, but at least it appeared democratic, but not with equality for all. And, yes, in other countries, there are many freedom loving people who are being killed and among them are journalists. In America, it is beginning to happen with the loss of educational opportunities, decency in language, and guns everywhere. It is scary. So, we must all speak out, because we are a global community.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Karen! Thank you for your brevity. You have summed up succinctly what needs to be said and shared, and I shall do that! Perhaps, you can consider entering this piece somewhere it may get more eyes? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, there is Me.We.com, Facebook (it goes there automatically) It also goes to Goodreads, Tumblr, and to Twitter too. I don’t know anywhere else…but I do have Reedsy.com, Bublish.com, and Reddit.com, so I suppose I could publish it there too, I am so thrilled that you think it is good enough…you made my day. Thank you so much Debby – you are a gift to your friends and everyone. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Debby, no I hadn’t considered that, but now that you mention it.perhaps I should. I wrote this in hopes that others on WordPress would also consider speaking out, by writing and then it would go to twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and even Goodreads for those, like me and you, who are Goodread authors there. Debby, you always speak up and speak out and that is the best thing ever, in my opinion. I admire you so much! Karen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very eloquently written. It’s been hard to watch the last two years after so much forward movement. Maybe it was inevitable that we get another look at the dark side and bring it into the light. I do write in some small way but I’ve found you can’t open most closed minds. You just have to lead by example. May the light shine on us again soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your praise, it means a great deal to me. It gives me courage to be a better writer and not be afraid to speak out. I also agree with you about how sad it is that we have lost our forward momentum and have slide back into the black mud of hate, racism, and bullying. It does mean that 35% of Americans are in that black mud with his “leadership”. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Kathy Lauren, thank you so much! I felt it was time, especially that this is the week to celebrate writing about intellectual freedom and to acknowledge that so many wonderful written works are now banned from libraries.

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  7. A well timed and brilliant post, Karen. I have been champing at the bit to write something along those lines as well, but my situation precludes it for a little while longer. The creative anger and disgust is at work though, and soon the pen shall scream.

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    1. Wendy, I do understand, it is important to consider your work. I considered using a Pen Name, but since I am not working anymore (retired early) I don’t have that worry anymore and I live in a very conservative area. But, I believe “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”. Easy for me to say…I have nothing to lose. Karen 🙂

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  8. Thanks for your essay on the importance of writing books that challenge the repression of people. I found a book by Philip Gerard, “Writing a Book that Makes a Difference,” to be a great resource for structuring one’s thoughts on any topics.

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    1. John, thank so much for your comment and I completely agree that as writers and authors we need to use our voices, our commentaries, or essays, and our novels (fiction or non-fiction) to make a difference. And, we can if there is a will to do so, there is always a way. It all starts with the written word. Thank you, Karen 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  9. This was so very well written Karen, and I came via Debby’s reposting of your article..
    We should all be aware at how the system is now eroding Free Speech and how Algorithms are censoring communications being accessed..
    Many are not even aware we are sliding down the slippery slope.. As the Dark side as Marlene in her comment touched upon have much of the Media in their grip, along with addictive games and trivia on phones and TV that keep the masses dumbed down and sleeping!…

    Many thanks for sharing your voice. 🙂
    Sue

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sue, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and how great it is for me to know there are many like you, who are very aware of what is happening…a take over of our Democracy and life as we know it. It always starts with losing freedom of speech. Karen:

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    I will leave you with a powerful and inspiring post from Karen Dowdall which should be read by all writers. We do have a responsibility to write stories that help change the elements of society which are harmful to all of us. It takes courage to speak out for change… but as Karen points out authors of the past did just that. Thanks to Debby Gies for sharing…#recommended

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sally, I am so honored to have my post on your site. thank you so much. I am more than thrilled that you also believe we should speak out by our writing, and in our books too. It does make a huge difference and they will listen to you, i know they will. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sally, again, thank you so much and I feel strongly that you do have influence, because you are loved and respected by thousands of people who follow you, as I do. Karen 🙂

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  11. Thank you for your eloquent words, Karen. Communication is the basis of any organized society; if we lose that, then we are truly lost. We, as a society, have a moral responsibility to ensure that freedom of speech and freedom of the press remain upheld.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. An interesting article, Karen. Throughout history writers have used their pens to expose injustices and we continue to do so. My new book, Through the Nethergate, is based on my view of what could happen with the unstable refugee situation in Europe. It is, of course, fictionalised, but there is a lot of research included.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a powerful post, Karen, and so needed in today’s world – voices that speak up for kindness, fairness, justice, and compassion. Whether we write stories or blogs or both, we have an audience who reads and I agree that we have the opportunity to stand up for what matters. Every voice adds to the chorus, enough voices can change the world. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Diana, thank you for your astute and intuitive comment. I agree with everything you commented on, “voices that speak up for kindness, fairness, justice, and compassion.” If those voices were in the millions, what a different world we would have – a beautiful, happy planet. Who knows, perhaps one day we will. Thank you, Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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