Influence of Mass Literature on the Readers Consciousness
Temirbolat AB1*, Daribaev SD2, Imakhanbet RS2, Ospanova AA3and Ospanova AA4
1Higher Doctorate of Philological Science, Professor, Head of Department of Kazakh Literature and Theory of Literature, Al-Farabi Kazakh
National University, Kazakhstan
2Department of Kazakh Literature and Theory of Literature, Candidate of Philological Science, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University,
3Department of Kazakh Literature and Theory of Literature; PhD, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan
4Department of General History, Ahmet Yesevi Interna.onal Kazakh-Turkish University, Kazakhstan
- Corresponding Author:
- Temirbolat AB
Higher Doctorate of Philological Science
Professor, Head of Department of Kazakh Literature and Theory of Literature
Al-Farabi Kazakh National University
Almaty, Al-Farabi Avenue 71, Kazakhstan
Tel: 8 (727) 221-10-00
Received date: March 19, 2016; Accepted date: March 29, 2016; Published date: April 04, 2016
Copyright: © 2016 Temirbolat AB, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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This article studies the characteristics of mass literature influence on the reader’s consciousness. Based on the generalization, study of the domestic and foreign scientists’ works on present topic and the analysis of the books of certain genres, its specific traits and the role in the modern historical and cultural process and the life of the society have been revealed. The concept of “mass literature” has been revealed. The ideological-thematic content and structure of women's novels, detectives, thrillers and action novels have been analyzed. The main principles and tools of presenting the reality in the mass literature’s works have been defined. The great attention is given to comprehending the author’s concept of being and personality. Detailed analysis was conducted on the writers’ philosophic and aesthetic opinions and their ideas on the constant human categories and values. The article establishes the content of genre and style-specifics of women's novels, detectives, thrillers and action novels. It highlights formula-approach, sample-orientation, cliché and patterns of the plot of the mass literature’s works. Its negative and positive influence on readers’ consciousness has been revealed. It is underlined, that the mass literature’s works, on the one hand, create certain complexes in a person, act as a reason for the aggravation of his aggression and inadequate actions and promote the passiveness of his consciousness; on the other hand, they have learning and educating functions and have a psychotherapeutic influence on people.
Novel; Genre; Mass literature; Writer;
Influence; Content; Consciousness; Reader
In the last decades, mass literature (“para-literature”, “pulp
fiction”, “trivial literature”) gained high popularity among the readers. It includes melodramas, romance (pink), spy, criminal
and costume-historical novels, thrillers, action novels, fantasy,
Researchers define mass literature as “a relatively versatile
concept, which signifies the lowest level of literature and
includes the books, which are not the part of the official
literature hierarchy of their time” . Its specific
characteristics are the sketchiness of the plot, stereotyped
ideas and topics content, cliché in the elements of the artistic
shape, which include “a completed context of emotions and
moods” and recreate “psychological and ideological
stereotypes” . Mass literature follows the principle of
repetition and serial stamp, because “the author’s” affirmation
is always determined by the principle of coherence with the
expected by the audience and not by the attempts of
independent exploration of the world” . So, for example,
the basis of a pink novel’s plot contains of a story of a woman,
who, after multiple difficulties, gains much desired women’s
happiness by the side of a handsome, strong and wealthy man.
The titles of such books often contain words like “love”,
“heart”, “kiss”, etc. Women’s novels have a happy end. The
tragedy is not allowed in them, because it does not correspond
with the expectations of the readers’ audience.
In the novels of criminal content, in contrast to the classic
detective, the episodes of pursuit, violence, fights and
shootings prevail. Author’s attention is concentrated not on
the process of solving the committed crime, but on the
grasping moments of the trial. The plot of the criminal novels
develops mostly in the two storylines – of the criminal and of
the detective, who not only oppose each other but are, in fact,
almost competitors. Basically, they compete in dexterity,
power, craft and courage.
Mass literature’s works are commonly standardized in the
approach for presenting the events, the reality and the
information translation. They operate with a simple technique.
The authors do not strive for novelty and experiments. Mass
literature is “traditional, conservative and oriented at the
average language semiotic norm, because it is addressed to a large readers’… audience”. It has “strict genre- and thematic
rules, which are the formal and content-defining models of
prosaic novels” .
Mass literature’s works often have stereotyped characters.
They “almost always serve a certain plot function and do not
leave the frames of a certain image” .
Mass literature’s works have formulated language. Each
genre has its range of style clichés. For example, action novels
use slang, vulgarisms, jargon and argot lexicon. The speech of
women’s novels characters is high in sentimental and exalted
The mass literature presents the simplification of the artistic
idea. They gain a trivial, primitive nature.
Another common trait of the mass literature is the
predictability of topics, plot twists, conflict situations and ways
to solve them. Basically, the reader initially knows how the
story will end and how the characters’ destinies will resolve. It
is explained by the fact that the writer regards the
expectations of the audience – his potential recipients. Mass
literature has the goal of satisfying the demands of a wide
range of readers, which explains its wide distribution and
enormous recognition among the people of very different
generations and social statuses.
Melodramas, romance (pink), spy; criminal, costumehistorical
novels, thrillers, action novels, fantasy, etc. are the
object of close attention of the researchers. Mass literature is
studied in the works of Strecher, Elite, Swirski, Barsch, Gans,
Chernyak, Kibalnik and others [5-11]. These works
comprehend the phenomenon of mass literature and reveal its
nature and specifics. The researchers reveal the factors, which
define the development of such genres as detective,
melodrama, thriller, action novel and fantasy. The research
works define the role and the characteristics of mass
literature’s works functioning and analyze its artistic
uniqueness. The great attention is aimed at studying the plot
and compositional organization of detectives, melodramas,
thrillers, action novels and fantasy, the specifics of their
language, style, forms of author’s presence and character
The significance of present study is defined by the necessity
for deep comprehension of the characteristics of mass
literature influence of the readers’ consciousness. Such
analysis would allow significantly expanding the knowledge
about the nature of such popular genres as detective,
melodrama, thriller, action novel and fantasy and defining the
extent and the types of their influence on the psychology of a
The results of the study have theoretical and practical
significance. They may be used in the research of tendencies
and patterns of the modern literature’s development and of a
writer’s creative laboratory. The obtained conclusions lie in the
field of interdisciplinary studies. They facilitate the expansion
of the knowledge about the factors, which define the process
of personality’s development and motives of people’s actions.
During the study historical-functional, comparativetypological,
psychological, hermeneutical and receptive
methods and complex approach have been used. They
allowed, firstly, to assess the nature of the mass literature’s
works; secondly, to thoroughly study the characteristics of the
influence of women’s novels, detectives, action novels and
thrillers on a person’s consciousness and actions; and thirdly,
to understand how the readers perceive mass literature and
which feeling and associations it arises in them.
Based on using historic-functional method, the
characteristics of the creations of modern writers have been
revealed. It promoted the comprehension of the reasons for
the distribution and wide recognition of the mass literature’s
works. The role and the significance of such genres as women’s
novel, detective, thrillers and action novels have been
Comparative-typological method allowed revealing the
patterns of the mass literature’s works. As a result of its
implication the specifics of the composition, plot organization,
ideas and topics content of women’s novels, detectives,
thrillers and action novels have been established.
Psychological method helped understanding the characters’
inner world, their personality and behavior motives. Based on
its implication, the characteristics of the authors’ paradigm of
personality and studied authors’ attitude towards the reality
they present have been revealed.
Complex approach helped comprehending the factors,
which defined the development and shaping of the main mass
literature genres. As a result of its use the tools of actualizing
authors’ ideas, the character systems have been studied, the
principles of creative writing structure and its issues have been
Hermeneutic method allowed understanding the specifics of
the content of romance, detective and action novels and
thrillers. Its implication provided the comprehension of the
author’s paradigm essence and understanding of the essence,
given in the books.
Using receptive method provided an opportunity for
complex study of the reader’s reaction to the world presented
by the author. As a result of its use the influence of mass
literature on a person’s consciousness and mind have been
studied. The receptive method allowed revealing, which
feelings and associations are evoked by the plot of such genres
as romance, detective and action novel and thriller.
The influence of mass literature on the reader’s
Mass literature, which has a goal of satisfying the demands
of a wide range of readers, has an enormous influence on their consciousness. Its influence manifests in negative, as well as in
In the opinion of the researchers, mass literature primarily
promotes the standardization of thinking. By suggesting
certain stereotypes, it robes the readers of an opportunity for
versatile and deep assessment of various situations .
An example for this is women’s novels. They create a certain
model of women’s behavior. By describing the fate the female
protagonist, the author not only tells an entertaining story of
her life but also reveals, which is the true essence of each
woman’s being. The pages of the women’s novels tell which
values the women should have in order to reach the harmony
in life and gain her true “self”.
The main values in such novels are the family and
matrimony. The whole plot of women’s novels is built on the
female protagonist’s search for her “other half”. Marriage is
the core and the ultimate goal of her life. A desire to enter in a
relationship with a man directs the woman’s actions and
motivates her behavior.
Family creates the basis of the protagonist’s being. This
concept is perceived by her consciousness as the true essence
of a woman’s life. The protagonist sees the only and true path
of her self-actualization as a personality in creating a family. In
the women’s novels this concept is related to the categories of
happiness, harmony and love. Therefore, the authors suggest
the readers certain representations and stereotypes about
general human and constant values, about the nature of
female “self” and about a woman’s social role. Creative and
professional self-actualization of a personality plays a
secondary role in the women’s novels. The authors do not
show the complexity and variety of the human feelings. These
books do not reveal the characters’ inner world richness.
In the women’s novels love is presented only as feeling,
which binds a woman and a man. It is more similar to lust,
which makes the characters to attract to each other. The
novels do not show the depth, strength, magnitude, beauty
and controversy of this feeling. Love in the women’s novels is
defined by the human’s sexual nature. Describing the
protagonist’s destiny, the authors almost never note her
relationships with her relatives and the surrounding world.
Love is weakly linked with the concepts of humanity,
compassion and respect.
Therefore, the protagonist’s evolution proceeds only in one
direction. Upon revealing a quality, which is interesting to the
opposite sex, she starts to develop it in herself and assert
herself by it. Essentially, love does not solve its main function,
which is to change and improve the world, spiritually enrich a
person and evoke an urge for creation. This feeling serves as a
certain tool for reaching the set goals. Love presents as a
guarantee for marriage and creation of a family.
In the women’s novels happiness is viewed together with
the concept of a union of two people. It is associated with a
marriage. Creating a family becomes the highest
representation of happiness.
Harmony is perceived by the women’s novels as the
character’s awareness of the mutual interest and love towards
Beauty is mainly limited to the appearance of the
characters, described in the book. The authors almost do not
show the inner world of the characters.
The beauty is presented in the women’s novels as certain
given, which is initially present in a woman and a man. The
protagonist is not always aware of her attractiveness. Often
she reveals it after meeting a man.
Mass literature develops a passive perception of the reality.
Authors of romance and criminal novels practically provide the
complete answers for all of the essential questions. By doing
so, they reject the readers an opportunity for independent
search and discovery of the solutions. Mass literature’s works
often become guidelines of sorts, a rule-book or an
instruction. The readers use them in the life situations.
Mass literature, which is aimed at a being entertaining and
vivid, uses such events, as burglaries, murders, political
scandals, love dramas and catastrophes, as the plots. Criminal
and action novels and thrillers are full of cruel and violent
scenes; that, undoubtedly, has a negative effect on the
reader’s mind and especially on the minds of morally
vulnerable social classes. Firstly, they develop an indifferent
attitude towards the surrounding people and the world. They
begin to be indifferent to the events and loose the sense of
compassion and empathy. Secondly, they get guidelines for
committing a crime or an act of violence. Thirdly, the readers’
consciousness experiences the substitution of values. The
priority goes to a person with his individual needs. A
personality, which is able to commit anything for its interests,
becomes an ideal. Fourthly, a thought about the primary need
for satisfying one’s lowest urges appears in the readers’
The influence of mass literature’s works on the
Mass literature promotes the development of consuming
approach to life. Basically, it leads the reader from the reality
into the dream world, thus convincing him that everything will
come true and he just needs to wish it.
The images of supermen, provincials, who conquered the
capital and became successful businesswomen, and glamorous
beauties, destroy the aesthetical values, ideals about true
beauty and representations of morality. Because often such
characters plot, smoke, drink and swear, while they solve the
problems by using physical force. It is the root of the readers’
developed stereotype about rudeness, vulgarity, tackiness,
impudence and slack being the sign and the necessary
attribute of success. Action novels are an example of this.
Their characters are often well-behaved and low-educated
people of huge strength.
Using their physical advantage, supermen and superwomen
act disrespectfully and boldly. They frequently show complete
disrespect towards the surrounding people and demonstrate unfounded aggression. They so not maintain the moral norms
of the behavior. Supermen and superwomen do not have high
life ideals. General human are not significant to them. They
defy the laws. The main argument and mean of solving all
problems in the action novels is force. It results in the negative
influence on the readers’ minds. As stated by the researchers,
the process of perceiving a book includes a process of the
recipient’s identifying with the characters, which, in turn,
creates the aggravation of the aggressive urges .
Scenes of violence have an influence on the mental
processes and the readers’ mental state. Their influence
frequently manifests on the unconscious level, thus causing
the changes in the people’s behavior and reflecting on their
axiological and moral orientations.
Action novels might become a reason for people’s
aggressive attitude towards animals. Wishing to try the
methods and tools of violence, described in a book, the
readers begin to torture their pets or stray cats and dogs in the
Scenes of cruelty reflect on the people’s well-being. While
remaining under the impression from what they have read,
they might feel mental discomfort, fatigue and moral overexhaustion,
especially of the victim of violence was the
character they liked.
Detectives have a negative influence on a person’s
consciousness. “By evoking a positive attitude towards
aggressive and violent forms of behavior” in combination with
thorough description of “the technique of committing crimes”,
these book might “facilitate a certain categories” of readers “in
committing a law-defying action” and become a reason for
inadequate reactions and deeds .
However, the emotions, evoked in during the reading of a
detective and action novels, not necessarily manifest in a
person’s actions or behavior. They might accumulate in the
reader’s soul, thus causing a significant damage to his mental
state and inner world.
Thrillers contribute to the increase of a person’s aggression.
By describing various methods and tools of negative influence
on people, they change the reader’s moral affirmation, causing
an urge to turn somebody’s life into a nightmare and to fill it
with terror and fear. The thrillers, in which the maker of the
performed villainy remains unpunished, have the strongest
influence on a person’s mind.
In the opinion of the researchers, action and detective
novels and thrillers complicate the process of interpersonal
communication. By influencing a person’s subconscious, these
books cause irritability and intolerance to the opinion of the
others. Moreover, they draw the reader in with their charged
plot, making him reinforce his negative emotions and
aggression again and again and raising a wish to recreate the
characters’ actions in order to become equally special, not
similar to others and able to rule the world with the fear and
the force. In turn, a person’s negative attitude causes the
corresponding reaction from the surrounding people. As a
result, there is a secluded loop, which promotes the consolidation of the wrong moral affirmation in the reader.
Being the carrier of the negative thinking, he feels the hostility
of the others towards him. His aggression increases, as well as
his estrangement from the world and the society. Gradually his
personality experiences dissolution, moral and spiritual
The influence of mass literature on the reader’s
psychology and sub consciousness
Sometimes thrillers become the reason for insomnia and
people’s unfounded fears. By describing the fear, experienced
by the characters, these books have a strong impact on the
mind and the subconscious of a person. People start to fear
the ordinary things (e.g. the darkness, people walking behind
them, lightning, etc.), while being under the impression from
reading a thriller.
Mass literature often causes inferiority complex and lowers
people’s self-esteem, convincing them the necessary attributes
of a successful person are wealth, physical strength in men and
attractive appearance in women.
External allure and sexuality serve as the basis for the
relationships of the female protagonist of a women’s novel
and the surrounding people. These books frequently propose a
thought that these qualities are a certain guarantee of a
personality’s social success and of a woman’s finding of
happiness, harmony and love.
Therefore, the women’s novels often cause the complexes in
the readers’ consciousness. By comparing themselves to the
protagonist, they become disappointed in their own
appearance. The inconsistencies, that they reveal, lead to
pessimism and low self-confidence. Some readers start seeing
themselves as unworthy of love and happiness. A fight against
the imperfections of the appearance either become a core
goal, or leads to a personality seclusion and its estrangement
from the world, or becomes a reason for envy and aggression
towards successful and beautiful women, some of whom
might be the close people.
Action and detective novels have similar influence. The
images of supermen, who are able to jump from any height,
run on the roofs, walk through the burning fire, overcome a
dozen of enemies by themselves and escape any pursuit, cause
the dissatisfaction with themselves in the readers’
consciousness. This is the root of occasional unfounded
aggression, rudeness and use of force on the weaker people.
Remaining under the influence of the read books, men, and
especially young men and adolescents, sometimes do
inadequate and cruel things, thus trying to get a little closer to
their ideal and to become as strong and brave.
Mass literature decreases “the ability to think and use deep
associations and perspective imaginations” . Authors of
romance, detective and action novels and thrillers do not
present the reader with complex philosophical, ethical and
aesthetical issues. The attention is focused on the twists of the
characters’ destinies and sharp plot turns, which aim at
pleasing the reader.
Mass literature “replaces the true picture of the world with
its simplified patterns” . It gives the reader completed
formulas and answers. The content of mass books is
characterized by the shallowness and easiness to perceive. The
final of romance, detective and action novels, thrillers and
fantasy is always predictable and the characters are
understandable and recognizable.
Shallow reading and lack of thinking about the books
content leads, on the other hand, to immaturity of human
consciousness, and on the other hand, to gradual loss of his
skill to express and experience deep feelings.
According to various researches, mass literature “appeals to
the cultural memory of an averaged reader, to the cultural
field, related primarily to the cinema and television, and to the
well-known literature texts” .
Therefore, a person gradually loses the habit of “detached
mental effort”. Mass reader prefers illusions over the reality.
He is not interested in the life truth or global and social
problems of the modern time. The reader is indifferent to the
reality with all its controversies and shocks. He prefers to
remain “in the state of calm semi-dream”, in “the light
drowsiness”, which allow him to distract himself from the
routine problems and life difficulties .
The level of reader’s aspirations gradually lowers. His
expectations are mostly limited to getting the pleasure and
entertainment. “Even in the reading of the most educated and
literarily qualified groups” the “orientations on the naïveadaptive
type of cultural behavior” and consumption start
prevailing, along with the refusal to analyze the reality and the
predisposition towards “escapism, approximation of the tastes
and nostalgia for “other” – either past, or fictional- life” .
Mass literature leads a person from the reality and the
problems of the routine life. The reader either becomes a
spectator of the described events, which do not disturb his
tranquility and do not affect his mental state, or dives into the
atmosphere of the fascinating adventures, seeing himself as a
superhero. According to H. Marcuse, a human becomes singledimensional.
He loses the ability to think, compare and
perceive the reality in all of its variety and complexity.
Mass literature gradually turns the reader into a “passive
consumer” and spectator, “who is trusted to experience the
feelings of other people” .
A person seizes to reflect. His creative and analytical
thinking weakens. He stops being able to see the problems of
the reality in their integrity and connectivity, in the context of
the unity of past, present and future.
Mass literature creates a thought about the reader’s
omnipotence in his consciousness. It creates an illusion that
everything in life depends on the person himself but “with
regard to the fact that the subject himself is limited to one
dimension”, in which only one of his qualities is actualized (e.g.
attractiveness in the women’s novels, power in the action
novels, etc.) .
Mass literature promotes the development of the passivity
in a personality. It might become the reason for a person’s
irresponsibility to his actions and relationships with other
people. For example, the women’s novels present a thought
that each woman has to wait for the appearance of a strong
man in her life, who she will be able to interest in herself.
Women’s novel allows the readers to see their own
dissatisfying situation either as temporary, or as a result of the
lack of a real man in their surroundings. These books do not
say a word about the need of spiritual and moral growth and
active position of a personality. According to Ulybina, women’s
novels “work as prosthesis, which recreates a model of the
reality”, because they recreate the readers’ “fantasies” and
confirm “their pathological perception of the reality and of
themselves” . Therefore, they basically distort the reality,
because the reasons for loneliness may be different and are
defined by multiple various factors.
Positive meaning of the mass literature
However, despite such negative influence of mass literature
on people’s minds and spiritual world, it has a certain positive
meaning. By describing standard routine situations and the
ways of solving ordinary problems, the authors enrich the life
experience of the readers. For example, women’s novels
provide interesting information for the women about types of
plots, which are often twisted by the closest friends,
acquaintances and colleagues. Such information is useful,
firstly, for finding the correct solution and the exit from an
equal or similar situation; secondly, for better understanding
of the various forms of human behavior and explaining the
motives of their actions; and thirdly, for expanding the
knowledge about human psychology and their underlying
In the words of a well-known scientist and writer A.
Zinovyev, “by compensating the feeling of helplessness of an
average person, mass culture creates images of supermen,
who overcome those obstacles that in reality are impossible to
overcome and who win in situations, in which an average
person would definitely loose. Supermen do not go to work
from nine to five, do not tremble in front of the bosses and are
not afraid that tomorrow they will be fired without any
explanation… They do not have problems of paying monthly
bills. Supermen solve the social problems by themselves in a
simple and understandable way – most frequently, by physical
force. These fictional stories do not decrease the stress, but at
least temporarily, before sleep they bring the feeling of sweet
Mass literature might have a positive influence in a stressful
or critical situation and even help to avoid suicide. For
example, reading women’s novels, where the characters
overcome multiple obstacles but, at the end, reach the desired
goal and become happy, helps women, who are disappointed
in love or in their career, to save the faith in a bright future and
accept the current situation as temporary and passing.
Mass literature sometimes serves as a wonderful way of
entertainment. By attracting the reader with an interesting
plot, it can distract him from other negatives forms of
spending the free time.
According to B. Dubin, mass literature’s works serve as
“instrument of primary socialization” . They help a modern
person to adapt to the conditions, in which he is living.
Mass literature brings people pleasure. Diving into the
world, which is shown in the books, and solving the repeating
plot twists, the readers feel joy and satisfaction of being
familiar with the “rules of the game”, started by the author
. They feel competent, educated and intellectually
developed because they are able to predict the following set
of events. Therefore, mass literature increases a person’s selfesteem.
It gives the reader a feeling of his significance.
Mass literature has psychotherapeutic effect. With its
positive content it gives the reader a thought about the
necessity to have faith in wishes fulfillment and in positive life
Mass literature has educating and explorative functions. It
often becomes the popularizer of other artistic works and
films. Mass literature deepens the readers’ knowledge on
psychology of interpersonal relationships, types and motives
of human behavior. For example, a detective reveals the state
of character before and after crime commitment. Women’s
novels allow better understanding of “female” logic. Fantasy
expands the readers’ representations of the surrounding
Mass literature recreates the picture of the modern life. Its
characters “act in recognizable social situations and typical
setting and face the problems, which are close… to the reader”
. Therefore, it promotes the expansion of a person’s
representations of the world.
Mass literature broadens the readers’ horizon. It presents
the “rights and rituals of people, etiquette and political
conditions of a certain country” .
Mass literature is incredibly popular among the readers,
which is explained by its entertaining plots and easiness of
Mass literature is a relatively complex concept. It has
various influences on the inner world of a personality. The
nature of this influence is controversial. Mass literature’s
works, on the one hand, promote the standardization of
thinking and narrowing of a person’s representation of the
reality, and on the other hand, they evoke light feeling in the
reader’s soul and thus make him see the world in a positive
Mass literature has a strong influence on people’s
consciousness and mind, changing and replacing the system of
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