Literary Quizification

Michael Strouse  //  Jan 22, 2014

Literary Quizification

If my life was anything like my Facebook feed this past week, it would be something like this:

  • I would live in Hogsmeade.
  • I'd be Queen Amidala.
  • My Hogwarts house is Slytherin.
  • I'd also live in New York.
  • I'd be the Award's Season version of Jennifer Lawrence.

The proliferation of book-related quizzes my friends and I have taken lately has made me reconsider how much they actually add to the reading experience. Does the fact that my Saturday nights are now spent sleeping indicate that I am really a Slytherin or that I am a simply a boring parent of toddlers? Should I now reread Harry Potter to have more sympathy with Draco Malfoy?

But more than my newfound sympathy with Draco, when we click our answers, are we just setting ourselves up for disappointment?

When we read, we do more than catalog the details of the story. We experience vicariously. Our character sympathies shift page by page for many reasons. Often, we read aspirationally, identifying with those characters we admire; those that rise above the choices we would make ourselves. That is why we have literary heroes.

So if the vast majority of us want to be Gryffindors, the reality of our quizified Slytherin tendencies erases that illusion and eliminates one crucial element that the Sorting Hat did not ignore. We WANT to be we should be.