I was listening to NPR the other day, and they had a guy on there who was a political scientist going off about the state of fiction today. He was saying that there are no classics being written today because writers only deal with personal themes, not sweeping social or political ones.
He used Grapes of Wrath as an example of a great work of fiction that would never be written today because current writers are not concerned with the problems of society. He said they only look within themselves.
I whole-heartedly disagree. It may be true that writers today are more introspective, and I see where, at times, this could be too much off a good thing. However, while the radio man was very persuasive, I don't necessarily think that great fiction needs to institute huge changes in society. Changing one person's outlook on the world, making one person a little more open, is a great change, too. Either way, it is change one person at a time.
Of course, I am not saying that I think fiction should ignore society's ills. I just saying that society's problems are often captured in the problems of one person. What do you think?