In our face paced, busy world it is sometimes easy to question the real worth of literature. Why should we spend hours burning our eyes reading elongated monologues andÂ extended imagery, when events of importance can be succinctly put on screens for us to mindlessly digest? Yes the concept of literature may be romantic, but do we realistically have the time do enjoy it?
Contrary to the thought, reading actually saves you time. It gives you access to numerous emotions and events which would take you an endless amount of time to experience directly. Literature works as a simulator of the human experience, it allows one to gain knowledge of scenarios which would not have otherwise been possible. It enables you to experience mutually exclusive events, such as being a suffragette in the twentieth century and to also to endure the horrors of the Vietnam War.
It introduces you to fascinating people such as world leaders, political activists and in doing so exhibits examples of people who have succeeded and failed in the world. Therefore, it works as an educator of human development, as it shows what qualities one ought to be striving for, and which ones should be avoided. Literature also takes you across continents and centuries, curing people of provincialism and others of ignorance. In doing this, it turns everyone who reads into citizens of the world.
Similarly, literature can be thought to make us nicer. It lets us into the minds of those who are different from us, such as a tyrant, someone of the opposite sex or someone with disabilities. This aids our ability to see from others perspective which also develops our ability to empathise. Books also place emphasise on feelings and creativity. Such liberalism is a stark contrast to the capitalist system we live in. Books encourage us to think more carefully, and deeply whilst inÂ this commercial and cynical world.
Literature is in many cases a cure for loneliness. Within a book, we can find reflections of ourselves, authors convey emotions in a way which we canâ€™t always ourselves. They find the way to describe our sometimes bizarre, fragile inner experiences, like unreasoned hatred towards someone or an intense desire for a ravenous affair. This in turn helps us feel less alone in the world. As the writer Emerson remarked, â€˜In the works of great writers, we find our own neglected thoughtsâ€™. Novels are often like roadmaps, we can use them to make sense of what is happening in our own lives. They provide us with reassurance that we are not alone with these experiences.
Seeing as literature has such great power, we need to start changing our attitude towards it. Currently, we use literature as a leisure activity, something to pass the time of temporally distract us from our boredom. We take it to the beach, use it to decorate our houses, yet we donâ€™t use it for what it should quite clearly we used for. Literature should be used as a sort of therapy, as the purpose of reading is similar to the purpose of actual therapy. Both hope to make you happier. Therefore books should be prescribed like medication, certain books used to cure certain problems. We should have a greater respect for literature, then maybe we would reap more of the benefits it offers.Â
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Or for more information on his topic of the purpose of literature please watch this video
Written by Isabel Shaw