New psychological research out of the University of Buffalo demonstrates how, “When we read, we psychologically become part of the community described in the narrative—be they wizards or vampires. That mechanism satisfies the deeply human, evolutionarily crucial, need for belonging.”
This fits with my previous post – about how expanded our caring circles are compared with other mammals. We can even care about characters that do not exist. We can belong in a make believe world.
In fact, many of these works allow us to explore morality in a context that is relatively safe. It may well be that the printed word has done more to expand our sense of who belongs and who does not than any other creation of the human race.