In AN EXPERIMENT IN CRITICISM, C.S. Lewis answers the question of Why We Read and also provides the answers to why all forms of storytelling are so important:

“We seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves. Each of us by nature see the whole world from one point of view with a perspective and a selectiveness peculiar to himself. …we want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as our own.”

Storytelling allows us to shift our perspective:

“Good reading, therefore, though it is not essentially an affectional or moral or intellectual activity, has something in common with all three. In love we escape from ourselves into one other. In the moral sphere, every act of justice or charity involves putting ourselves in the other person’s place and thus transcending our own competitive particularity. In coming to understand anything we are rejecting the facts as they are for us in favor of the facts as they are.”

Storytelling allows us to broadens our experiences:

” …we become these other selves. Not only nor chiefly in order to see what they are like but in order to see what they see, to occupy, for a while, their seat in the great theatre, to use their spectacles and be made free of whatever insights, joys, terrors, wonders or merriment those spectacles reveal.”

Storytelling allows us to reframe what we know

“…The man who is content to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. I regret that the brutes cannot write books. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee; more gladly still would I perceive the olfactory world charged with all the information and emotion it carries for a dog.”

Storytelling allows us to become more than we are:

“Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality. …I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.”


C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis
November 29 , 1898 – November 22 , 1963

Husband, father, soldier
Author, writer, scholar
Teacher, lecturer, broadcaster


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