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20 July 2011

Pass The Tissues: Why we love those gut-wrenching scenes.

This week we are focusing on gut-wrenching passages, which are some of my favorites! So it got me wondering, why do we so enjoy reading those scenes that tear our hearts out and end with an empty box of tissues? 

Most of us already know about stress hormones and how they build up in the body, causing all kinds of problems. According to one article I read, emotionally-induced tears contain protein-based hormones as well as leucine enkephalin, a natural painkiller. So "a good cry" flushes all those stress hormones out of our system.

Well, the science is all fine and dandy but I still wanted some experiental answers. Here's what some of you had to say:

Diana Prusik: Tears are cathartic. There's nothing like a good cry during a touching scene . . except for a good cry followed by laughter. (Think Sally Fields' stellar graveside scene in Steel Magnolias. Poor Ouiser!) Something about reading or watching a scene like that feels emotionally cleansing.

Brian Heffron agrees: Catharsis

Barbara Robinson: Because a book has to touch us emotionally or it's nothing to us. It must evoke reader emotions. If I don't feel anything when I read a book, the book is not any good, and I wouldn't finish it.

Christine Lindsay: I think we need to cry as much as we need to smile and laugh. Although when we cry, it's because we are always reaching out for hope. That this sad situation will not remain, but that the sun will shine again. It's about hope.

Jessica Patch: God designed us to connect with others. The bible says rejoice when others rejoice and weep when others weep. We're built to care. We want to. Real life or fiction, we're drawn to it and good writing makes us feel like it's real even when it's not.

Those are some great answers! What about you? Why do you love those gut-wrenching scenes? (Or if not, why don't you care for them?)

After you answer, be sure to read this week's Gut-Wrenching excerpts and cast your vote if you haven't already!

~ Connect with Michelle at her blog, Adventures In Writing.
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April Gardner said... Wednesday, 20 July, 2011

Thinking back on books that I classify as "the best book ever!" (I have a lot of them. lol!), they usually made me cry. I'm not a cryer, generally, so when a book makes me cry, it's because it deeply impacted me. And don't we all need to be impacted on a deep level? We're made in the image of God, so we carry a more shallow version of His love. When it's touched and moved, we cherish it and always remember.

Marianne Evans said... Wednesday, 20 July, 2011

As someone who greatly enjoys 'emotion' driven fiction, what I love about gut-wrenching plotlines is the idea that they open the doorway to God's grace, and display his overriding goodness and love in all that comes to be in our lives--the good and the bad. :-)

Diana Prusik said... Wednesday, 20 July, 2011

I'm glad a scientific explanation exists for my emotional cleansing after I cry through a touching scene! Books and movies with such scenes are my favorites. Thanks for the article and for quoting me, Michelle. And thank goodness for the invention of disposable tissues for readers like us! :-)

Linda Glaz said... Thursday, 21 July, 2011

Diana is so right, a good cry followed by a good laugh. One of my all time fave scenes in a movie. Sally Field laughing in the midst of her grief.

Christine Lindsay said... Thursday, 21 July, 2011

I like reading a gut-wrenching story because I'd rather read about it than live it. Although, after I've gone through a real-life difficulty, I sure don't want to read about a character where she or he can't relate to my pain. Life isn't easy. I think it might have something about going through the valleys of darkness, it's the journey, but you don't stay there.

Michelle Massaro said... Thursday, 21 July, 2011

I love all the input on what draws us to those tear-jerking moments. I agree with every single one! So glad you have each added your thoughts. =)

Item Reviewed: Pass The Tissues: Why we love those gut-wrenching scenes. Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Michelle Massaro