Literature is essential to daily life because it connects individuals to societal facts and concepts. Through romanticised depictions of the experience, literature enables individuals to record their thoughts and experiences in a manner that may be understood by others. Literature has existed as an art form for millennia, with the earliest works going back to the 26th century B.C.E.
Oral and written traditions comprise the literary heritage. Civilizations that did not have a written language were still able to transmit their histories orally. Numerous Native American nations have a tradition of oral literature.
Primarily, ancient literature served to transmit conventions, beliefs, and traditions to subsequent generations. In recent ages, literature has taken on a broader role as a reflection of society in order for humanity to study themselves and comprehend the fundamental truths shared by all people.
Literature is an essential component of education for students since it teaches them to recognise themselves in art. This enables individuals to learn about life and the truth. Literature also enables individuals to see reality through the eyes of others. Identity-based writing informs the reader what life is like for others, so making them more empathetic and appreciative of others.
Literature is so significant that it has withstood the test of time and is a vital component of contemporary curricula. So, what role does literature play in contemporary society?
How literature impact our daily lives?
1) History and Literature
History is not just a window into the past, but also a window into the present and future. Within each era are distinct individuals and, within them, distinct stages of our ever evolving society. Each previous individual was a product of their own era. As a species, we change daily, and without the time stamp that literature provides, we would have no knowledge of the past.
Literature enables one to travel back in time and learn about life on Earth from those who lived before us. We can gain a deeper appreciation for culture and a greater understanding of it. We learn from the ways in which history is documented, in the form of manuscripts and through the spoken word.
Through hieroglyphics and paintings, it is possible to piece together the history of ancient Egypt. The Egyptians left behind symbols that help us comprehend their culture. This is distinct from Greek and Roman culture, which is easier to locate due to their intrinsic demand for precision in writing.
This is the influence that words has. They are entirely immortal and have the power to ignite meaning, transform nations, and start movements. They will always outlive their speaker.
2) Society and Literature
A society’s standards, morals, and culture are reflected through literature. Each author uses literature as a medium for expression. Some books serve as social mirrors that help us comprehend the culture we live in.
This is best illustrated by writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose book The Great Gatsby is a mirror of his observations and feelings about America in the 1920s.
Through their stories, authors effortlessly allow us access to their psyche. Literature, however, also emphasises the necessity of comprehending contemporary problems like human conflict.
People are mislead into believing that every concern or problem has an immediate remedy or answer in an era of contemporary media, such as television and movies. Literature, however, attests to the complexity of human strife in its true form.
Humanity is reflected in literature, and literature helps us to comprehend one another. We can start to understand someone else’s way of thinking by listening to their voice. I think literature is significant because it serves a purpose, and books start conversations in a world that is growing more and more disconnected from interpersonal interaction.
3) Education and Literature
The majority of individuals throughout the world experience literature for the first time in school. Reading and writing have been pounded into all of us from a young age, and the examination process sets this into motion.
The ability to empathise with a set of characters on a page is categorical and, from the perspective of a learner, a vital skill. In addition, the capacity to perceive themes and messages enables us to adopt a new way of thinking. Literature turns into a vessel. The 130 million books that have been written worldwide serve as guides for readers and provide a means for them to gain new knowledge.
Why should one read literature?
Here are three justifications for why students in particular should occasionally read literary works.
1) Literature makes us smarter
We take in a lot of data at once when we read a book, play, or poem. We consider the story’s plot, its characters, and its environment; we pick up on foreshadowing and symbolism; and we deduce the meanings of new words from the context in which they are used. In other words, we think a lot when we read literature.
We are better able to understand the thoughts and motivations of those around us and come up with original solutions to issues if we read more regularly and make an effort to comprehend what we read.
2) It makes us interesting
We can have any experience we choose when we read literature. Dean Moriarity can take us on a road trip across the United States, and Jake Barnes can take us across Spain.
Although reading about something is not exactly the same as really experiencing it, it can help us be more imaginative and add a little bit of the interesting aspect to our regular lives.
3) It makes us better humans
The majority of what is regarded as great literature is difficult to understand, not necessarily because it is difficult to read. There are significant ethical issues with a large portion of it.
Literature takes these issues and thrusts them into actual life, making them more immediate and, at times, uncomfortable, in contrast to religious texts or books on moral philosophy. In other words, we are compelled to consider them in concrete terms as opposed to abstract ones.
When we encounter ethical dilemmas in our daily lives, this can assist us in acting morally — or, at the very least, in considering what may be the proper course of action.
The article is written by Nida Wahid, a student of English Literature at the University of Malakand.