White Paper 3 – picklerick

My research essay will be delving into the deception of one of the healthiest pastimes we believe to have. I’m going to prove why reading young-adult fiction novels is a terrible habit for adults to acquire. It didn’t surprise me to find out that the majority of Young adult and teen fiction novels are read by grown adults. According to a study done in 2012, “55% of readers in the YA market are not young adults” (Howlett, 2015). People enjoy the appeal of YA fiction because it gives them the opportunity to escape their lives, to temporarily forget about their stresses and obligations. What these people are unaware of, though, is that this distraction isn’t the slightest bit beneficial for them. “History reveals fiction’s ability to change our values at the societal level” (Wilkinson, 2016). An example of this in television is with the show, “Modern Family”. There’s a homosexual couple treated without judgement in this program, which moves the viewers to become more accepting of the LGBT community. This is a good-hearted example, but if our views can be swayed so easily by a television show, imagine how easily a novel (with deep storylines and characters you strongly connect with) can rewire your brain.

Not only do these stories change the way we think, they also trick us into expecting many more positive outcomes than reality is willing give us. It’s no secret that YA fiction novels are almost sure to give you a happy ending; it’s part of the appeal. All this does, though, is lead us to have greater expectations for life and little knowledge of how go and achieve these aspirations. If you want to find true love, don’t go and read “The Fault in Our Stars”. Instead, pick up a book like “The Ladybird Book of Dating” and learn how to become a better partner.



Content of the Article: This article shows that many adults still read young adult fiction novels. It includes a study which concluded the majority of YA readers (55%) are adults. States how YA books provide an escapists appeal.

What it proves: It proves that adults love YA novels and read them more than their targeted audience.


Content of the Article: This article debates the counterargument that reading fiction makes you more empathetic.

What it proves: This proves that my original claim is true and falsifies the popular notion that reading fiction will make you more empathetic.


Content of the Article: This article points out one of the flaws in YA faction, the facts that there are too many happy endings.

What it proves: It proves that happy endings are detrimental to our outlook on life.


Content of Article: This article gives me great examples of popular counterarguments to my hypothesis such as, “It helps your brain stay in shape”.

What it proves: It proves that reading fiction is beneficial. It also proves that this is a highly debated topic which I can take a strong side on.


Content of Article: This article is full of psychological studies which test how reading fiction effects different parts of our brain compared to reading nonfiction. This is important because it will give my hypothesis solid backing.

What it proves: It uses a study involving an FMRI machine to conclude that fiction’s use of exhaustive descriptions is unnecessary. Instead, it suggests that all an author needs to do to activate one’s imagination is suggest a scene.



Content of Article: This article describes a series of studies that were done to test how reading fiction literature affects people’s levels of empathy. There are two studies; one which tests how reading fiction affects levels of empathy over time, and one which tests how one’s level of transportation (how immersed you are in the story) whilst reading affects their empathy.

What it proves: It proves that there are multiple factors to consider when making the claim that reading fiction improves empathy. Your level of transportation matters a lot. The studies in this article show that people who are less immersed in a story will actually receive reduced levels of empathy after reading.


Content of Article: This article provides four main claims which support the argument that reading fiction has negative side effects. These claims are: Fiction makes your mind flabby, stories can leave you dissatisfied with reality, novels stoke the emotions, and sensational works can numb the mind to tragedy. Each of these claims is supported with evidence that includes real novels as examples.

What it proves: It gives me more ideas for claims to support my thesis. It overall proves that reading fiction does give people negative side effects.


Content of Article: This article includes a study which shows that the average child in the U.S. spends only four minutes per day reading nonfiction. It then goes on to describe how reading nonfiction is important for students because it positively influences student success.

What is proves: It proves that children are not reading nearly enough nonfiction. It shows that if students were to start reading more nonfiction, it would improve their levels of success and make them smarter.


Content of the Article: This article gives reasons why women read more than men. It says that men only account for 20 percent of the fiction market. It explains that psychological studies show that women are on average more empatheic than men.

What it proves: It helps me disprove the claim that reading fiction makes people more empathetic. There is a positive correlation between levels of empathy and the amount of fiction people read because of the fact that women are naturally more empathetic than men.


Content of the Article: This article explains why reading science fiction is bad for you. It claims that the way people usually read science fiction is flawed because they often have very low levels of transportation. It also says that science fiction readers have less comprehension of a plot than narrative realism readers.

What it proves: It proves that science fiction is worse to read than narrative fiction. People who are looking to achieve higher levels of empathy from reading are better off reading narrative fiction than science fiction.

One thought on “White Paper 3 – picklerick”

  1. This is fascinating, picklerick, and unique in my experience of student composition proposals. Nobody in my class has ever proposed to prove a thesis about the effect of reading fiction. Congratulations. You have my attention. I’ll want to help, of course. The topic is irresistible.

    So far your sources are all popular, so you’ll need to focus more on academic sourcing and hope to supplant your first few examples with more substantial research, but these are good for a start. As for your descriptions, they’re OK as far as they go, but they don’t go nearly far enough to provide your reader (or your future self) with a adequate and purposeful summaries. Instead of merely indicating the focus of the articles, you shold be engaging with them as my student did in the models I provided about wrongful convictions of death row inmates. The more language you create in analyzing the sources you describe, the more you’re beginning to practice your own arguments and produce the first few hundred of your eventual 3000 words.

    Let’s take your last source as an example. You say:


    Content of Article: This article has an un-biased point of view on the argument and gives scientific studies that show exactly how reading fiction novels affect our emotions.

    What it proves: It proves that reading is ultimately just another form of media.

    To say: “has an unbiased view of the argument” tells your readers NOTHING about that point of view. To say “studies that show how fiction affects our emotions” says NOTHING about the effects fiction has on our emotions.

    You’re just getting started, so you have some time to improve these citations (and I recognize you’re among the first to post, for which I thank you), but as they stand, they’re little more than links to the sources.

    I’m eager to see how this story progresses. (Hoping for a happy ending.)
    Your reaction, please?


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