Is it Literature? Essay

Is it Literature? Essay

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Is it Literature?


When most people consider how to tell a story, they think in terms of plot and character. While these are often the most visible aspects of a story, there is an underlying foundation of principles that support a well-told story. These principles could be compared to a house foundation. Without a solid foundation, the other effects of the house, its "character and design," cannot be fully enjoyed. In the same fashion, the principles of storytelling are also mostly out of sight, but the effect of badly laid story foundation has effects just as damaging as a badly constructed house
foundation.

The purpose of this essay is to lay out the principles, that well-constructed literature will contain, in a manner that they can be considered individually. The principles can also be understood as a unified piece of rationalism that offers an overview of what well constructed literature consists of, and how it is written. Understanding these principles should be able to help a reader to distinguish between well-constructed literature and what tries to pass as literature.

Literature is a world where every character, every action, every element has meaning and purpose. This is what makes literature fundamentally different from life. Life offers facts that don't necessarily have a clear purpose, meaning or outcome; events that generate emotional states that have no clear purpose or fulfillment; or events that captivate the senses, but not in a meaningful, dramatic, or fulfilling way. Real life, then, can be chaotic, or appear to lack a desirable purpose and meaning. For example, we don't marry the love of our life... or we do, and then things can go terribly wrong. Or the one we love is taken from us by a freak accident. Or we work hard but don't get the rewards we desire. Even worse, the rewards may go to someone who appears to be completely undeserving of the reward and honour we've worked to attain.

So real life can be painful, unpredictable, or even wildly rewarding, but in spite of our best-laid plans or efforts, we can never clearly predict the outcome of any action or actions. Most people, then, have a need for something that gives meaning and purpose to the events of life. This is what literature will do. However, the beautiful thing about literature is that it may do this, or it may do the exact opposite. It may leave issues or c...


... middle of paper ...


...grew up there. We can readily internalise this story because it is about the universal human experience of self-realization. The plot, the movement of the story, is just a means to this end.

Well-constructed literature, then, can be analysed by understanding these principles of storytelling. By exposing the reasons why we desire stories, and how well-constructed literature can meet these needs that we bring to it, I sought to reveal what well-constructed literature will contain and how to identify it. During the colloquies, I struggled with a definition of good literature. However, I came to the conclusion that well-constructed literature is not necessarily good literature, and vice versa. So, instead of trying to conclude what good literature is, I decided to tackle the idea of what well- constructed literature is. It is important to remain aware of the fact that good literature is many things to many people.

Different people will try to reach a different type of fulfillment. In my opinion, it is impossible to judge or define good literature, one may only attempt to judge or define what well-constructed literature is, as I hope to have done here, in this essay, for you.

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