What Literature Can Teach Us

The word “literature” denotes both spoken and written content. Literature, which is derived from the Latin term for “writing created with letters” and means “writing produced with letters,” is most often used to describe works of the imagination, such as poetry, theatre, fiction, nonfiction, and, in some instances, journalism and music.

What Is Literature?

It has been said that literature reflects a language or people’s culture and traditions. Despite several attempts, the notion is difficult to define; it is evident that the generally recognized definition of literature is continually changing and developing.

Many believe “literature” refers to a more advanced type of art than just writing words on paper. The canon is the recognized corpus of writing for a specific author. Some literary works are revered as classic examples of their genres in culture (poetry, prose, or drama).

Literary Fiction vs. Genre Fiction

Literary fiction and so-called “genre fiction,” which includes mystery, science fiction, western, romance, thriller, and horror, are often distinguished by definitions. Consider the common paperback.

Compared to literary literature, genre fiction often has less character development and is read for amusement, escapism, and storyline. On the other hand, literary fiction investigates universal human topics and expresses the author’s perspective on the subjects they choose using symbolism and other literary techniques. Literary fiction also requires witnessing the connections between the characters’ interactions with one another and enter the characters’ brains (or at least the protagonist’s). In literary novels, the protagonist often has a discovery or undergoes a shift.

(The fact that they write in various genres does not imply that literary authors are superior to those who create genre fiction.)

Why Is Literature Important?

The finest literary works serve as a roadmap for human civilization. Literature spans all eras and cultures, from the writings of prehistoric societies like Egypt and China to Greek philosophy and poetry, from Homer’s epics to William Shakespeare’s plays, and from Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to Maya Angelou. The ability to open up a new realm of experience makes literature more than a merely historical or cultural item.

But the definition of literature may change from generation to generation. For instance, modern critics criticize “Moby Dick,” a book by Herman Melville in 1851, and consider him a failure. However, due to its subject intricacy and use of symbolism, it has now been acknowledged as a masterpiece and is regularly included as one of the finest pieces of Western literature. We can better grasp Melville’s literary traditions by reading “Moby Dick.”

Debating Literature 

In the end, examining what the author writes or says and how he or she expresses it might help us understand the meaning of a piece of writing. We may analyze and discuss the author’s message by analyzing the words an author uses in a particular book or piece of writing or by noting which character or voice establishes the connection with the reader.

Literary theory is often used in academics to decode texts using mythological, sociological, psychological, historical, or other techniques to better grasp the context and depth of the work.

Literature is significant because it speaks to us, is universal, and has a profoundly personal impact on us, regardless of the critical paradigm we employ to debate and evaluate it.

School Skills

Students reading for pleasure and studying literature have a more extensive vocabulary, more robust reading comprehension, and superior writing abilities. Every aspect of a person’s life is impacted by their ability to communicate, including establishing and maintaining interpersonal connections, participating in meetings at work, and writing internal memos or reports.

Through literary analysis, students develop their ability to recognize causes and effects and their critical thinking abilities. They unknowingly analyze the psychological or social aspects of the characters. They can read the characters’ intentions behind their behaviors and discern any hidden agendas.

Students apply their problem-solving abilities while preparing an essay on a piece of literature to create a thesis and carry out the process of writing their paper. However, gathering evidence for their viewpoint from the text and academic critique requires research skills. It also requires organizing abilities to deliver their argument.

Empathy and Other Emotions

According to several research studies, reading literature increases empathy because it puts the reader in another person’s shoes. Empathy for others makes it easier for individuals to interact socially, resolve disputes amicably, work together more successfully, act ethically, and become active in improving their society.

Other research finds an association between empathy and reading but not a causal relationship. Studies support the necessity for robust English programs in schools, particularly given that more and more individuals are turning to screens rather than books.

In addition to developing empathy for others, readers may have a stronger sense of belonging to mankind. As they learn that other people have gone through similar experiences to their own, students who read literature might feel comfortable. If they feel burdened or alone in their struggles, this might be a catharsis and a source of comfort.

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