10 Things You Should Know

About Literature

By Rizwan Younus  | Submitted On November 23, 2011

Literature appeals to our sense of beauty and thus gives us pleasure. Literature reaches the intelligence through the heart or feelings. Its emotional and rational appeal chiefly inspires us. Prose is the language of reason, while poetry is the literature of emotion. Love, hatred, joy, sorrow, fear, pity, anger, jealousy, revenge, charity such are the emotions that poetry stirs in varying degrees. The intense the emotion, the greater the appeal of poetry. The poetry of Shelley, Keats and Tennyson is highly charged with emotion.

In this article we will see what the essence of literature is and what it should be? How literature reflects human emotions, life, complexities, problems and heartedness?

(1) RAW MATERIAL FOR LITERATURE. Human life is the raw material for literature: human joys, pleasures, sorrows, feelings, emotions, expressions, human virtue and vices, human greatness and degradation, human aspirations, courage, hope, disappointment, success, failure, encouragement, appreciation, anger and frustrations are the stuff of which it is made. Literature may thus be regarded as a mirror of life or in the language of literary criticism, an imitation of life, it depicts human beings, their motives, goals, targets, and ambitions, the ups and downs of human life, thoughts and deeds.

(2) THE ESSENTIAL QUALITY. An essential quality of literature is that it appeals to the intellect through emotions. This emotional quality is its distinguishing mark and the reason of its universal appeal.

(3) DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SCIENCE AND LITERATURE. Science and especially the natural science appeals to mind of man through rationality, experimentation, empiricism and intellect but literature stirs his heart. It is because of its emotional appeal that literature is so widely read in highly developed and industrialized countries. Science having a purely intellectual and brainy appeal is focused and studied by only a minority of general public.

(4) VARIETIES IN LITERATURE. There are many varieties of literature, each having its own peculiar characteristics and each possessing its singular and eccentric appeal. Poetry, drama, novel, fiction, short story, long play and biography are the chief sub-divisions of literature, all of which enjoy immense popularity; a taste for these kinds of literature has spread even to the common man.

(5) LITERATURE IS A BLESSING. Literature is one of the greatest blessings of life, because it exists primarily to give us pleasure. It is a source of keen delight to read the lyrical poetry of Shelly, the sensuous poetry of Keats, the narrative poems of Coleridge, Scott and Byron, the Nature poetry of William Wordsworth, the sweet and musical verse of Tennyson and Rossetti and the melancholy poetry of Matthew Arnold. The comedies of Shakespeare with their rich wit and humor are a source of unending joy. The novels of such writers as Jane Austen, Dickens, Hardy, Stevenson, Arnold Bennet and H.G Wells, have given pleasure and lessons of life to innumerable readers. Indeed, the study of literature is one of the richest sources of human pleasure. It provides with and escapes from our personal circumstances and problems. We find ourselves in a new and beautiful world. We move about in the company of such characters as Falstaff, Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Micawber and Colonel Newcome.

(6) MORAL INSTRUCTIONS AND CHARACTER BUILDING. The study of literature is also a source of moral instruction. It depicts good as well as bad characters and presents them in such a way that we feel compelled to follow the example of good characters and avoid the follies and errors of evil ones. Most works of literature show us the working of a moral order in the universe, so that we can derive suitable lessons for our own guidance in life. Milton's Paradise Lost, Dante's The Divine Comedy, the novels of Tolstoy and the tragedies of Shakespeare are full of deep moral significance. The study of such works is bound to uplift and ennoble us. Literature brings us face to face with the eternal problems of life. It compels us to meditate over those problems in order to find a satisfactory solution. Literature has a role in the character building of humans.

(7) KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN NATURE. Literature widens our knowledge of human nature and its working. The subject of literature being man, a good writer must have a vast knowledge of the human mind and human motives. Accordingly, by reading literature, was to develop an insight into human behaviors and nature. We are able to make use of this insight in our daily practical life. Moreover, the study of literature enables us to acquaint ourselves with the modes of life and traditions of people other than our own. A Russian novel will depict life in Russia; an American short story gives us a glimpse into the American way of life; an English play represents the life of Englishmen.

(8) MEN, MANNERS, SOCIAL EVILS AND LIFE EXPERIENCES. The study of literature is very useful in enlarging our knowledge of men and manners. Nor is this knowledge confined to the present-day world. Many books depict past ages and periods, and enable us to share the life experiences of other times. Thackeray's Henry Esmond carries us back to the 18th century; the novels of Dickens depict the social evils of Victorian England. The poems of Scott, Keats and Rossetti take us back to Middle Ages.

(9) ADVANTAGES OF LITERATURE. In view of all these advantages, the study of literature is highly desirable. It may even be regarded as an essential part of education. Literature at once refines our emotions and develops our imagination. The faculty of imagination is one of man's most valuable qualities, and the man who is unemotional, cold, who doesn't have the courage and ambition to move ahead in life is not truly human. It must not be forgotten that excessive reading of literature tends to make some people over-imaginative. But to be an imaginative person is a valuable thing.

(10) IMPORTANCE OF IMAGINATIVE PROCESS. Literature creates and gives boost to human imagination and imaginative process. It was the imagination of Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 - January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 - May 30, 1912) to fly in the air, which gave them an impetus to work hard and make their dream true. It was the imagination of Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931) to make a stable light bulb. This imagination led him to work, work, work harder and work smartest. He tried different filaments. He worked continuously even in difficult situations and turned his imagination into reality. It was the imagination of Christopher Columbus ( 31 October 1451 - 20 May 1506) to find out a new and easy route to India, which succeeded him in discovering America. Without imaginative thought process, dram, goal, commitment, dedication, ardent devotion, determination, continuous and consistent labor no one can succeed...