Being Preachy in Novels

Anyone who knows my writing style knows I don’t just tells stories to tell stories. My stories come with REASONS. Reasons why the story came into being. Even my children’s stories have significant morals underlying themes.

For Christmas my partner gave me several dystopia novels (which I LOVE, by the way!). The first to be read is “Iron Heel” by Jack London, the author of “Call of the Wild”. To be sure, it’s a fun little novel. It’s written as if the real narrator from several centuries in the future, is providing the reader with a biography written in 1930’something. Marxism runs rampant in this text, which is great and all. I’ve been in search of a Marxist novel.

The problem is how preachy the novel is. Jack London tries to create a strange novel with footnotes explaining capitalist ideas as prize fighting and factory whistles to a now socialist society that has stumbled on this old biography that dictates what happened to one of the founding fathers of the global socialist revolution. Rather than sounding like a biography, it reads like one of Plato’s dialogues where Sokrates (the more accurate spelling of Socrates) sets up the reader via the other soon to be well taught but never really listen opponents.

And, since my writing tends to have reasons for the stories, and since so many readers of my writing tell me I preach too much, I wonder where that line should be? Is the narrator allowed to preach? If so, to what degree? Obviously, I realize Jack London went too far in his novel. But where do you draw the line? Do I have to add entire chapters to a book just to SHOW an idea rather than have the narrator make a simple, one-line observation about life or human nature???

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