Books have always been a key part of our society’s history and culture. Through storing our stories, creating new ones and educating us on our very own history. Books are the breeding ground for new knowledge and possibilities and although many contradict each other, they are all playing a part in how we live our lives and how we perceive different situations. But, until you have thoroughly read one you may never know the importance of them.
Last summer, I read a series of books called the Undraland Series by Mary E. Twomey and at the time I was reading them, I didn’t think much of the parallels it held between our world and the fictional world it was set in. However, since I recently re-read them, I began to pick up on the parallels that were in no way, shape or form a positive reflection of our current world and the different societies and cultures within it. (A short synopsis of each book can be found on Mary E. Twomey’s website here.)
Within the first book, you learn of wars and hatred held against different lands based on centuries old promises and also new ones. This isn’t uncommon to the current socio-political ideologies that are harboured by many different countries and cultures around the world, which are now resulting in systematic oppression and institutionalised racism of already marginalised minorities. As well as in this, we learn of undeniable sexism that the women are facing across the fictional lands. For example, women can only be spoken for by a male member of her family. This rule, like others, is one that women have been forced to follow and are still following across the world, with little being done about it. A final thing I noticed (although there were many more) was the gender roles that were heavily enforced on the Undraland society, such as girls being forbidden to wear trousers and this societal norm, as well as many others featured in the books that are still encouraged and enforced within our very own societies until this day.
The thing I took from these books was that however imaginary and made-up a struggle and inequality may sound, it is probably being experienced by someone in this world and it is down to you to fight for them and give them a voice. A fight for justice at the other side of the world may seem inconsequential and irrelevant to you, but you might be the only person willing to free them from an inequality that is keeping them hostage.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”