A simple open ended question that leads to countless possibilities, from the quick response of “why not literature” to a response pulled from the depths of critical thought and much conjecture. Throughout history literature has helped form the social context of our society greatly. Some say literature is dying a slow death. What is to happen if the old standards of literary excellent are removed from high schools and universities. In our text book, Literature: The Human Experience, David Foster Wallace one of the contributors wrote in preface for instructors:
“We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy's impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character's pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive, we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple.” (v)
Wallace's quotation proposes a link or a leap in the reader's mind to embody characters emotions with their own. Not much of anything else can do this. Case in point, from the confines of his shoe box cell on Robben Island a man had little else than literature to keep his mind occupied. Sentenced to a life in prison for seeking justice for his people from an apartheid government, Nelson Mandela read what ever he could get his hands on. A disguised book, the “Complete Works of Shakespeare” later to be known as the Robben Island Bible. The book was smuggled into the jail by political prisoner Sonny Venkatrathnam, who disguised it in colorful Diwali cards celebrating the Hindu festival of lights, finally convincing the warden it was his bible. Between the years of 1975 – 1978, the book was passed between 33 of Venkatrathnam's fellow priso...
... middle of paper ...
...e as you have done. The hunger for knowledge should be unquenchable. The trans-formative qualities of literature are numerous, from “Harlem” to the Stop and Frisk laws in New York City, with “Oedipus Rex” how do we view our world...do we really see anything. Race, class, love, death and war surrounds us everyday. When you read between the lines all of these points become evident. The real quest should not be Why literature?...what about Why not literature!
Llosa, Mario. “The Premature Obituary of the Book: Why Literature.” The New Republic, 2001. Web. 8 Dec 2013.
Mckenzie, Sheena. "The Smuggled Shakespeare Book that Inspired Nelson Mandela." CNN.com, 2013. Web. 8 Dec 2013.
Wallace, David Foster. “Preface for Instructors.” Literature: The Human Experience. Ed. Abcarian, Richard, Richard Abcarian, Marvin Klotz and Samuel Cohen.. n.d. Print.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Literature in Life Literature is the expressed influence of communities and the individuals in societies. Literature spans culture, beliefs, and attributes the necessary component for corroborating how literature reflects, and portrays communities. The language from literature helps gives culture explanation of live in different society. Literature that is defined by the culture aspect, gives details about such fascinating and affluent information or context. Certain works, and words used in literature can help the reader understand and describe the sense of the community being read in the story.... [tags: Literature]
1157 words (3.3 pages)
- Pulitzer Prize winner, Barbara Tuchman, once said, “[b]ooks are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature is dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.” Just like Barbara has mentioned in her quote, literature always have reflected the historical event that was happening on the time the books were written. For instance, expansion of Christianity and the belief of immortal life through being a hero on their own epic, during Anglo-Saxon period is shown on the famous epic; Beowulf.... [tags: Literature]
997 words (2.8 pages)
- We are taught at a very young age the importance of words. One simple word can get you what you want. While others express intense emotion that can easily be understood. As we grow, we combine words allowing us to communicate with others. Through communication, spoken or written, we tell our stories. I believe that everyone has a story. Granted, some are more exciting than others, but it is still a story that can be shared. All of the authors we were introduced to shared a part of themselves.... [tags: Literature]
1947 words (5.6 pages)
- The turn of the 20th century conveyed revolution in psychological, social, and philosophical thought. It was time for something neoteric. It was time to break out of the mundane tradition. This time of revolution conceded men, such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud, to rise to fame with their radical and cutting edge theories. Also, women were exasperated of their modeled roles in society. They sought to be independent, they longed to have the ability to vote, and most of all, they wanted legal equality.... [tags: Literature ]
1540 words (4.4 pages)
- Literature has been part of society since pen met paper. It has recorded history, retold fables, and entertained adults for centuries. Literature intended for children, however, is a recent development. Though children’s literature is young, the texts can be separated into two categories by age. The exact splitting point is debatable, but as technology revolutionized in the mid-twentieth century is the dividing point between classic and contemporary. Today’s children’s literature is extraordinarily different from the classics that it evolved from, but yet as classic was transformed into modern, the literature kept many common features.... [tags: Literature ]
1209 words (3.5 pages)
- Living in a technologically advanced society definitely has its perks. Today, we are fortunate to have the internet, Amazon.com to delivery books straight to your house, and wireless handheld e-books. Unfortunately, the days of going to the library to take out books, and speaking with a librarian for help on research rarely happens anymore. That’s why studying literature, and researching topics is essential for us students. Literature can be described as a language. It has been expressed for centuries and throughout different countries and cultures.... [tags: American Literature, Literature and Technology]
2875 words (8.2 pages)
- “Top Girls” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” relate to contemporary political issues and feminism. Top Girls is regarded as a unique play about the challenges working women face in the contemporary business world. Churchill once wrote; ‘Playwrights don’t give answers, they ask questions’; she is proving this in Top Girls. She brings up many tough questions over the course of the play, including what success is and if women’s progress in the workplace has been a good or a bad thing. Margaret Atwood wrote a novel named The Handmaid’s tale, this is a novel that had been written from a feminist perspective.... [tags: Literature Analysis]
921 words (2.6 pages)
- Aldous Huxley Brave New World was published in 1932 depicting a utopian society. The title taken out of Shakespeare the tempest from one of Miranda’s famous quotes “o brave new world”. The story takes place in the year A.F 632 London, in a world were humans are no longer procreated and bearded by women but are generically reproduced along with having predestinated lives replacing the role of God who has also been eliminated along with religion all together eliminating traditional forms of happiness such as culture literature books traditions and morals only to be kept alive by those called savages ,people not part of the new world, in which one salvage named john is introduced to the New wo... [tags: Literature and Happiness]
1184 words (3.4 pages)
- There are many different elements of fiction. While takes several forms to make the writing interesting, conflict in literature can make the story interesting. Readers often relate to the characters in a story, poem, or play because it provokes the imagination, creates hope for the future, and confidence to live life. The conflict can be between two people or an inner conflict. Robert Frost "Road not Taken" the conflict is an inner conflict and in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason the conflict is between two characters.... [tags: Literature]
1594 words (4.6 pages)
- All women have power in Arthurian Literature and all those portrayed are always a threat to patriarchy. They all have the ability to do or to use magic [possible exception is Isode, she seems to simply be a victim of it]. Maidens use magic almost constantly [Lunete and Lyonet], beloveds have access to it [Isode is victim to the potion, whilst Laudine has a magic ring and is plagued by ownership of a particularly vicious Jungian fountain]. Enchantresses are slightly more complicated. Although there are some women who can be purely designated `witch' [Morgan le Fay, Nenieve/ Vivian/ Nimue] the pervasion of magical signifiers throughout the text in reference to women means that the term `witch... [tags: European Literature]
1201 words (3.4 pages)