What Is Literature?
Literature is the written word, including prose fiction, drama and poetry. In recent centuries, the term has been widened to include oral literature that has been transcribed. It is widely regarded as an art form, though definitions of what constitutes literature vary. Regardless of its definition, literature is an essential part of human culture and history.
1. Literature helps readers develop empathy for other people.
When you read a novel or poem, it takes you into another person’s imagination and life. You can experience their hopes, dreams, aspirations, and fears by putting yourself in their shoes. This is especially important for students who may not have much contact with people from different cultures or backgrounds.
The best books in the world can make you cry, laugh or even get angry. They can shape your thinking and emotions and have a long-lasting effect on you. This is because the themes, characters and messages are very deep. It is because of these effects that many books become classics.
2. Literature teaches readers to pay close attention to details.
Whether it is for pleasure or education, reading literature teaches students to be attentive and thoughtful of the written word. It is an important skill because it can help them in a variety of ways, from understanding the context and meaning of a work to solving problems. It also teaches them to be open-minded and understand other points of view, which will be valuable in future careers.
3. Literature reflects society’s values.
Literature has always played a role in society, from instilling moral lessons to exploring universal ideas. Its role has changed throughout the centuries, reflecting society’s ever-evolving needs and values. For example, the Epic of Gilgamesh initiated the archetypal narrative of a hero embarking on an epic quest; Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads inaugurated the Romantic era; Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped spur the Civil War in the United States; and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle gave rise to governmental regulations of the meatpacking industry.
4. Literature teaches historical perspective.
Regardless of whether it’s nonfiction or fiction, great works of literature offer unique perspectives on history. They allow us to travel back in time, immerse ourselves in the cultures of past ages, and explore how events have changed our world. Literature provides an engaging way to learn about the past, and can be far more interesting than learning a timeline or memorizing dates and figures.
5. Literature inspires creativity.
Reading can fuel a reader’s imagination, and inspire them to create their own works of art or thought. Many successful authors credit their love of literature with helping them to develop their writing skills. By studying the style and structure of various texts, they can learn about pacing, character development, plotting, and more. They can then apply these techniques to their own work.
Ultimately, the value of literature is in its ability to change our lives for the better. It can teach us compassion and empathy for others, expose us to new ideas, and encourage our own creative thinking. It is because of these benefits that it is so popular among students, adults, and people from all walks of life.