I recently came across an article in the New Yorker about the benefits of walking as it relates to critical thinking skills. Ferris Jabr reports on several studies that have been conducted to quantify the academic benefits of walking and even goes as far as to say that different environments are better for various types of thinking.
“A crowded intersection—rife with pedestrians, cars, and billboards—bats our attention around. In contrast, walking past a pond in a park allows our mind to drift casually from one sensory experience to another, from wrinkling water to rustling reeds.”
How can walking contribute to our understanding of literary text? Following Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson around London as they solve the “Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk” enhances our appreciation for the story, characters and setting, but does it enable greater understanding of the work’s themes? How about Charles Dickens? Does seeing where Oliver spent his days on the city’s streets better allow us to put ourselves in his shoes and better understand his fears and motivations?
It’s an interesting question that Jabr proposes.