Literature has had a major impact on the development of society. It has shaped civilizations, changed political systems and exposed injustice. Literature gives us a detailed preview of human experiences, allowing us to connect on basic levels of desire and emotion. However, just as it has constructed societies, the writings and works of certain authors have degraded societies to their most primitive form.
Literature is a powerful storytelling technology that unites us across space and time. Literature chronicles and preserves the ever-evolving human story. It invites us to reflect on our lives and, in discussion with others, to add our voices to the exploration of timeless human themes. Literature makes us think. Literature helps to shape up the society by telling about the historical aspects and events of the world and what we should learn from it. Literature in today’s scenario has an influence on society because in some way or the other it teaches us a lesson and gives a learning experience.
Literature is a big part of all cultures. Literature can inform people, it can share history and it becomes the history of a certain place or the world. The documentation of an event or even a story made up can change a culture. The impact of literature in the modern world is incontrovertible. Literature unfolds our eyes and makes us realize what the big bright world is. It makes the reader expand his mind to its every strength and helps us to think out of the box. It makes us look beyond the river and realize what the shore holds for us.
Literature influences us and makes us understand the every walk of life. Narratives, in particular, inspire empathy and give people a new perspective on their lives and the lives of others. The literary purpose is used to entertain and to give aesthetic pleasure. The focus of the literary purpose is on the words themselves and on a conscious and deliberate arrangement of the words to produce a pleasing or enriching effect. A writer often expresses a worldview when using the literary purpose.
Literature is important in everyday life because it connects individuals with larger truths and ideas in a society. Literature creates a way for people to record their thoughts and experiences in a way that is accessible to others, through fictionalized accounts of the experience. Literature not only represents to us our world but it also shows us ways in which we can change the world or adapt to changes which have already taken place without our realization.
When students study Literature, they learn to appreciate words and their power. They travel to other realms and times through the texts they read. They understand about their own culture and others’. They learn to empathic with characters, to feel their joys and pain.
What is the purpose of 21st century literature? It helps develop students’ critical thinking skills in the quest for the ubiquitous 21st century competencies. It helps students gain a better understanding of the societies which produce the literature to foster greater empathy for others. Literature is truly the reflection of life and human experiences. Literature can allow people to relive their memories. It also allows the reader to share the same experience with the writer. Lastly, literature allows the reader to learn through a persons mistakes and wins.
The influence of literature in society is evident in both cultural and academic discussion, with conversations around class, race, and gender most often referencing prominent writings surrounding these issues. Alongside impactful essays such as The Second Sex (Beauvoir, 1949) and Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (Morrison, 1992), which are undoubtedly central to feminist and racial literary theory, are novels including Giovanni’s Room (Baldwin, 1956) and The Awakening (Chopin, 1899), which act not as ‘activist texts’ with the purpose of exploring social issues from a critical perspective but as works of literary fiction that depict these themes in interplay with the novels’ respective narratives.
The significance of texts such as these, that interweave the poeticism and ardent observance that is unique to fiction together with thematic relevance to real issues, is evident in its effects: in such texts, we see the exploration of established societal constructs – race, gender, and class, in the aforementioned cases – whose walls readers exist within, from perspectives that are also most often from within similar societal structures, but which seek to challenge the prescribed limits of such constructs.
This results in writing that is simultaneously reflective and transgressive, envisioning structures that are uncanny in their similarity to real life, as a product of existing social conditions as well as in opposition to them, and that raise questions surrounding the architecture of human existence within these constructs without providing the answers to them, unlike with academic writing.
Simply put, novels which feature relationships between people and events and the social institutions which entrap them allow readers to see their own lives within these institutions from the outside, leading to critical analysis of societal structures that most affect readers. Thus, readers experience shifts in elementary thinking and dismantle the structures that they exist within by questioning their walls and forming more rounded opinions.
Furthermore, literature has led to more tangible change, with its influence visible in cultural stimulation and even government policy. The Jungle (Sinclair, 1906) is widely viewed to be a book that has changed the world for its direct influence on federal regulation of the meatpacking industry in the US during the Progressive Era, including in the passing of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and 1906 Meat Inspection Act under Theodore Roosevelt.
Sinclair’s unfiltered exposé depicting the strife faced by immigrants to America in the early 20th Century against a backdrop of sharp criticism of the moneyed classes encapsulates the power of literature to transform attitudes and demand change; public outrage following the novel’s publication advanced the passage of the aforementioned reforms.
The Jungle also exemplifies the boundless nature of literary interpretation; Sinclair aimed to further a socialist agenda with the publication of his book but was met with outcry for a different sort of political change, alluding to the intricacies in the balance between authors’ intentions and audience interpretations, and how in either case, change occurs as a result.
The influence of The Jungle came from its raw and honest portrayal of a system that existed alongside the lives of those who held power (i.e. those exempt from the institutional poverty and discrimination faced by immigrants, African-Americans, and Native Americans) in early 20th Century America, but one that was invisible to the naked eye. Alongside demands for reform came claims of shock and disbelief from readers who lived in systems that they had become blind to, who were faced with perspectives that were previously so marginalised that they did not seem worthy of attention. 1984 (Orwell, 1949) epitomises Gauguin’s statement that “art is either plagiarism or revolution.”
This statement applies to literature. Not only does Orwell explore the ramifications of living in a totalitarian society that holds eerie similarities to our own supposedly democratic one (thus raising questions around political philosophy and the perpetual wonder of “what if?”) but also explores how language is fundamental to incite change.
The ability to articulate oneself is change in itself, allowing for change as a consequence of understanding that change is possible as we are able to verbally express it, an idea explored in 1984 and one that forms the basis of Orwellian linguistic theory. Therefore, literature makes us aware of not only what the states of society and politics truly are, but also what they may be, and with it, harnessing the unending potential for change through ceaseless questioning.
Literature improves communication skills. The easiest way to improve vocabulary, writing, and speaking skills is to study literature.
- Literature teaches us about ourselves Literature teaches about the past.
- Literature cultivates wisdom and a worldview.
- Literature entertains.
Literature is a mirror of society because it gives an image, but the image is not necessarily a true image. The image can be distorted in reality or perceived as distorted by society as a whole. Literature tends to focus on subjects current to societal engagement.
History plays a fundamental role in shaping literature: every novel, play or poem one reads is influenced by the political context in which it is written, the people that the author knows and the wider society that frames the entire work.Multicultural literature can be used as a tool to open students’ minds. It helps to stimulate an understanding of diversity in the classroom and helps to build an understanding of and respect for people from other cultures. Also, multicultural literature can be used to examine racism.
The purpose of a literature review is to gain an understanding of the existing research and debates relevant to a particular topic or area of study, and to present that knowledge in the form of a written report. Conducting a literature review helps us build our knowledge in our field. The phrase “values of literature” refers to those qualities of poems, stories, novels, etc. that make them worthwhile to read.
If we feel our time reading is well spent, we can say that a work has value for us. Literature provides a language model for those who hear and read it. By using literary texts, students learn new words, syntax and discourse functions and they learn correct sentence patterns, standard story structures. They develop their writing skills.