In an era of Doki Doki Literature Club, taking a thick bound literary piece from the shelf sometimes leads to an encounter with the knitting of eyebrows of those around us. Their expressions suggest that we may have taken a rotten apple to bite into, instead of the text of the large book.
Nonetheless, we often find ourselves picking such books out of the shelves and sitting in a cosy corner, ready to get immersed in their pages.
I have heard people asking me, why I took literature as a stream of education in the age of artificial intelligence and augmented reality. People often assume literature to be a bundle of books and flipping through hefty volumes for long hours; a tedious task and a waste of valuable time, one may say. But is this all there is to literature? Definitely not.
What is literature?
Literature is defined as written work with a superior and lasting artistic value. Though literature primarily concerned with written work, it must have had a beginning in the spoken form. The oral expressions nourish literature and it is then produced in a lasting form in written words.
At the same time, anything and everything written down can not be considered to be a piece of Literature. A literary work consists of aesthetic beauty or artistic expression; with or without the use of literary tools.
Literature as a reflection of society
In its budding period, the term interpretation of the term literature was restricted to didactic poetry and served a rather monotonous purpose. However, in the present day, the every growing number of themes, styles and genres are broadening the scope literature to previously unexpected and ever-widening boundaries.
The factor of entertaining the reader has become an integral part of literature. However, even the entertainment expected by the reader is in the form of an empathetic expression of the protagonist’s dilemma, leading to the purgation of one’s emotions.
Themes in literature maintain their dynamism by adapting to the changing trends of society. Literature has the potential to be both interesting and innovative. It can become such a replica of human life which can assimilate and record its scientific inventions and expeditions. It is the perfect vessel to express the narration of personal experiences including those of erotic sex, love and other relationships.
Millions of books are published in a single year and the novelties of subject-matter and treatment of style still find their own place in these numerous publications. Then why is literature not enough to satisfy the brain’s hunger even in the modern-day?
Literature as a mirror of society
Every popular movement in society always plants a genre in literature which keenly observes and records its details or vice versa. It was how the early 20th century witnessed the emergence of feminism and the same occupied a space in literature genre in the later period where women found literature of their own.
We could say that literature can address the call of nature. Consider Rachel Carson’s notable work Silent Spring described the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment which in turn increased the environmental movements in the world.
How far literature can address the grave issues of human life?
Literature can respond to human issues through the different literary genres it offers. It can be either prose or poetry; autobiography or biography and not even limiting to the diary. Each of these forms has its own pattern of writing, still with nuances from the side of the authors, but offers its devotees a wide variety of choices in front of them.
Recent Nobel laureate Nadia Murad’s award-winning memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, And My Fight against the Islamic State, describes her surrounding experiences during the second Iraqi Civil war. It throws light on a grey area of human trafficking and also to the Yazidi religious life is such an example.
Literature can cross the boundaries because notable works have been translated from one language to another. As the English language has been awarded the status of lingua franca and the history of English Literature can claim a particular position in the contemporary literary world with its periodical growth in almost all the areas of literature
Importance of literature
Reading literature can be a rendezvous experience. Literature can change the world. In literature, it is easy to transcend from one place to another than any other form of expertise. It can take anyone who reads it to that place as it can take the reader to cool and leafy shade beside a lake while he is sitting in the desert. The personal experience literature can lend to its readers is not equitable with any other knacks as such. One can experience another person’s solitary detention cells, physical torture, and emotional trauma through literature. One learns to appreciate rituals and cultural practices from the far deep end of the world’s corner without losing its vitality through it.
Why we study literature because it is the first-hand aid to any knowledge stream as per the reader’s need. Language learning is stimulated in the pupil’s mind by introducing the literary pieces of that particular language. Whenever one studies about a society of people he cannot exclude the literature of that particular society. This is the same in the case of learning an individual. He is traceable from the books he goes through to an extent.
Literature is Art. It is an Art that feeds on and feeds up human emotions. There are a wide variety of issues that need attention. Hence an art form that is closely knitted with and around human life and emotions what else other than literature can have a soothing effect on humans in the modern era?