Drawing the line between Hoaxes and Literature

A hoax is a fraudulent, malicious, or even humorous deception. They are unexplained phenomena that stir a multitude of people into questioning their senses of reality. Many hoaxes take the form of urban legends, drawing public attention and steadfast believers; however, while most hoaxes are proven false by candid reasoning, some persist as unsolved mysteries. One of the most famous hoaxes in lore is the blurry, black and white “Surgeon’s Photograph”, seemingly depicting the “Loch Ness Monster”, which brought horror to believers until the object in the photograph was proven to be a toy submarine, and only a meager three feet long. Nonetheless, the creators of this hoax enjoyed fame but now have their names synonymous with infamy as jokers who gained publicity by pranking society. In stark contrast, literature may convey outlandish events, however, unlike a hoax, the author does not claim his/her content to be honest and unexplainable, but rather fictitious and purposeful: an artful medium to make a claim or further an argument. Whereas a hoax captivates the public through altering one’s sense of reality, literature influences the public through creative hypothetical proposition. While hoaxes may represent malevolent trickery, they serve as a reminder that no one is entirely sure of the world in which he/she lives in.

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