How Does The Reading Of Fiction Enhance Our Understanding Of Human Nature?

Fiction novels have been around since the old days and they’re still a very huge part of the reading community.

They’re a great way to use your imaginative power and to entertain your mind.

Deep research has gone into understanding the role that fiction plays in our lives. Most conclusions say that reading fiction helps make us human.

Empathy being the key emotional trait that is the most crucial in doing so.

With regard to this, I stumbled upon a question that made me really think deep about fiction and I decided to write this article about my understanding of the question.

The question is “How does the reading of fiction enhance our understanding of human nature?..

I’ll do my best to answer this query by using the experience that I’ve gathered over the years from reading different fiction and non fiction books…

With that said, How does the reading of fiction enhance our understanding of human nature?

Fiction novels show the reader the different nuances of human nature in response to different world situations. The writer paints a vivid picture and allows the reader to view the world through the characters eyes which provides a deep understanding of human nature in specific circumstances.

To fully understand this we need to dig deep into the elements of fiction which readers use to understand human nature knowingly and unknowingly.

The elements of fiction are basically five and I shall discuss each of these and provide context as to how readers use each of these elements to understand both the story and human nature itself.

The Character/characters

The character or characters in fiction novels are the individuals that the story is about and everything is basically centred around them.

The author tries to introduce the characters in the story with enough information to allow the reader to visualize each person. This is a very vital step for the writer because they need the reader to be able to use their imagination enough to have a firm picture of each and every character.

The writer achieves this by providing the reader with  detailed descriptions of the important character’s I.e. physical attributes and personality traits. Which are very important for interpretation… and this helps the reader easily connect the dots and have a clear picture of who’s who.

Every story has a main character.

The main character basically determines the way the plot is developed. This character is usually who will solve the problem and the story pretty much centers upon them while the writing also provides context around the whole story with the other characters.

The other characters are very important because they provide additional details, explanations, and/or actions.

The writer ensures that all characters stay true to the descriptions throughout the story so that the reader can understand and believe the action that is taking place and perhaps even predict which character may do what next.

This vividness in character descriptions takes the reader into the various character traits and supplies enough information to make them almost real in the readers mind.

The reader gets a glimpse of human nature from the characters and gets an understanding which is very crucial for the other parts.

The setting

The setting is the location of the story and sometimes the author provides various locations all in an effort to provide enough context around the story.

The writer describes the environment or surroundings of the story in such vivid detail to make the reader  almost or fully picture all the scenes.

Of course there are unusual settings (such as a fantasy world) which can be interesting, but everyday settings help the reader to better visualize the story and feel connected to the plot which is a very important thing in fiction writing.

The Plot

The plot is the actual story itself and this is the foundation on which everything else is built.

The plot has a very clear beginning which acts as the foundation of the story from which we begin our own imagination and analysis.

The middle, and the end have all the necessary descriptions and suspense which is meant to make the reader create emotional attachments to the story itself.

This way, the reader is able to make sense of the action and follow along from start to finish.


In order for the story to work it has to have some sort of conflict to solve. The plot is centered around this conflict and the ways in which the characters attempt to resolve the problem.

The conflict is so closely related to the plot and all its characters…. and it is meant to draw the reader in and have them understand what is going on.

That moment When the story’s action becomes most exciting, right before the resolution, is what is called the climax…

And it is usually so emotion filled that the reader cannot let go of the book because so much is happening and so many realizations are occurring in their mind.


Finally, the final piece of the puzzle to nail the story is the solution to the problem and the way the action is resolved.

This provides context to the reader by providing the final details that make the story make full sense.

The writers most important job is to make the

resolution fit the rest of the story in tone and creativity and solve all parts of the conflict to ensure that no questions are left hanging in the mind of the reader.

Human nature and Fiction

The various elements to fiction that we’ve discussed are important in understanding the story but they also provide a glimpse into human nature… whether we know this or not.

The characters are the people in the story who we start to understand as the book begins. Their personality is well provided to us by the writer and we use our own imagination to view the characters in full light.

Which is very crucial because the setting also provides additional information of who they are, where they are and every other detail necessary for understanding.

This then leads up to the plot which is the story itself and we are able to understand the characters much better and in doing so we are also able to get a good glimpse of human nature…. with the help of the external stimuli surrounding them.

The conflict is then able to show our characters in play and we get to know them better by their actions…

The round up of the whole story which is the resolution gives us a final verdict of the whole story which gives us even more detail about the characters and their various responses to circumstance and actions.

All these elements combined provide the reader enough detail about the operations of human nature in action.

Related Articles You Should Read

Can Reading Change Your Personality?

How Does Reading Affect Your Relationships With Others?

Helpful Resources

Reading Fiction Helps Make Us Human

Does fiction enhance our understanding of human nature – Prezi

These Benefits of Reading Fiction Will Surely Surprise You – Elif Notes

How Reading Fiction Increases Empathy – Discover Magazine