Reading is Power

Throughout the majority of The Shallows, Carr provides great explanations as to how technology has impacted our brain  as well as our lifestyle. He has mentioned how our thought processes have been impacted, as well as the different ways technology causes us to go about our daily routines. In the second half of the book he continues to explain what will happen to our brains as a result of choosing the internet over a paper back book. We would rather click from one link to the next to keep briefly learning short snippets of information in a timely manner. Up until this point in the book, I had never pondered the thought that us readers have just as much power as a writer does. We are able to look deeper into the fact that using hypertext to do extensive research has helped us students improve our critical thinking skills by quickly maneuvering through different sources to look at various different viewpoints. Carr states that “the academic enthusiasm for hypertext was further kindled by the belief, in line with the fashionable postmodern theories of the day, that hypertext would overthrow that patriarchal authority of the author and shift power to the reader (Carr 126). Before reading this passage, I had never considered this perspective. It had never occurred to me that the reader can have more power while reading a text than the person who actually wrote the text.

After reading so many passages and responses regarding the negative impacts that reading from the internet has on our brain compared to reading a book, this new viewpoint is quite refreshing. I love the idea that the ball is in now in my court when it comes to reading text online. By taking advantage of my ability to hop from one link to the next, I am a powerful reader with the capability to learn so much more than the author may have intended when he or she originally wrote that particular piece.


Although this may seem like a cheesy Dr. Seuss quote that we have all grown up with, I think it happens to be very fitting for the situation. Not only does it encourage reading, but it shows that reading empowers us just like Carr had mentioned in the second half of the book. We as readers need to take advance of the power we are given when we take on the task of reading, and then jumping to further texts to increase our own knowledge.


Author: Allison H

I'm an English major and a journalism minor with a love for creative writing through social media.

3 thoughts on “Reading is Power”

  1. I think as readers and writers, we do have some sort of power over the way we view our abilities: hyperlinks and the Net do help us to intake small snippets of information in a timely manner, but not without a cost. At the same time, if we depended solely on print and paper for news, media, anything technology replaces, we’d be screwed. There are different benefits and drawbacks to both, but I think it’s important to at least have some sort of balance between reading a physical book and visiting a digital website. To be well rounded readers and writers, I think this is imperative.


  2. The internet gives us an endless amount knowledge. We can click from link to link, from Facebook to Twitter, and learn so many new things on the way. I was always told, “The more reading you do, the smarter you will be!” Which I believe is true, but I think it can be any type of reading. This doesn’t just limit you books. Take advantage of reading online. You can learn so many different topics just by holding your phone or laptop. It’s amazing.


    1. That is a great point to take advantage of reading online because we really can learn so much instantly. Some people may believe that it is ruining our brains, but the internet is something that we work with every day and we should appreciate the benefits of it.


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