September 11, 2013
The Interconnectedness of Literature
Many of the stories that Stephen Graham Jones read were centered on a common theme of community and fostering positive relationships with those around you. The idea of living in a positive, friendly society ties into the Jesuit writings of Peter-Hans Kolvenbach and poetry by Robert Frost. By going to similar events such as the talk with Stephen Graham Jones, and reading various works of writing, one becomes more involved in their community in addition to sharing a connection with people who have read the same pieces of literature.
According to Kolvenbach, being a Jesuit entails learning in new ways and embracing faith in society. At the lecture with Jones, Loyola students were granted the opportunity to learn about Jones’ writing process and how he became interested in writing. However, the talk was more of an internal learning process. Jones’ audience learned about themselves as well as each other during the talk. Many people in the crowd realized that they held interests in fields of fiction of which they never before considered to read. Attendees were able to learn and grow together as they laughed at Jones’ jokes and enjoyed the excerpts from his books.
Similarly, Robert Frost’s Mending Wall tells of the narrator’s relationship with his neighbor, from whom he is divided by a stone wall. Despite their separation, the two communicate and get together every Spring to mend the wall. The two are able to grow together to create a friendly community amongst them, even though they have their differences. This connects to Jones’ fiction stories, which portray positive relationships between family members. His characters communicate with one another in positive manners, although they may not always be on the best of terms with the other. Despite their personal differences, Jones’ characters seem to constantly promote a positive community, which, as a Jesuit university, is what Loyola preaches. Students who listened to Stephen Graham Jones at his talk were able to realize how much characters in literature can impact people in real life. By preaching about the importance of maintaining a friendly community, both Robert Frost and Jones are helping readers realize the importance of their interactions with others in their everyday lives.
As a Loyola community, students were able to come together to enjoy listening to an amazing speaker and realize how many of their peers also enjoy literature talks. It is a great experience, that as a Jesuit school, allows students to “play our roles as students, as teachers and researchers, and as Jesuit university in society” (Kolvenbach, 40). Events much like Jones’ talk allows Loyola undergrads to join together to further pursue knowledge in fun, community-building ways. Furthermore, Jones’ talk helped students to realize that even genres of fiction like fantasy can hold merit in everyday life. By listening to Jones read his stories, attendees were able to connect themes from his stories to their everyday life, other pieces of literature, and the Jesuit tradition. It is clear that implementing Jesuit traditions and beliefs in daily life, whether it be through literature or events, ties people from all around the world together, regardless of their faith.