Does the writer have an obligation to Write the Wrongs they see? The muckrakers certainly righted several wrongs with their books. One famous legend has President Teddy Roosevelt choking on his morning sausage after reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, about the Chicago stockyards and slaughterhouses. It resulted in the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
Rachel Carson was another writer who changed things. Her Silent Spring, written in 1962, documented the effect of the indiscriminate use of pesticides upon the environment. It lead to the ban of DDT and the restoration of many species such as the California Condor.
Dian Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist, highlighted the mountain gorillas of Africa. The book was made into a movie starring Sigourney Weaver. Earlier this month, one of the news channels talked about the gorillas making a comeback and being moved from critically endangered to endangered.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a strong impetus to the Abolitionist movement prior to the Civil War. According to legend, Lincoln tells her, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”
Why do you write? Is it to entertain, to inform, to instruct? Is it a case of Have Writing Implement (physical or virtual) and must write? Do you want your writing to serve a higher purpose or is just having anyone read it for any purpose sufficient? Does anyone have to even read it or do you just need to write it?