Why We Study Literature

Although one’s love for reading can not be explained, there are many things that can be learned from reading different pieces of literature that can be beneficial to the mind. Literature helps others to gain knowledge and enhance personal and intellectual skills. Literature can develop one’s imagination, recognize human dreams and struggles, and nurture the ability to appreciate different perspectives on events.

First, one has to read many works and imagine the plot of the stories in his or her mind. Many writers write in such a way that causes one to think outside of the box. For example, Robert Frost uses imagery in his poem “The Road Not Taken.” In his poem, he compares two roads. To understand the poem and its meaning, one must read it over and over again to see that Frost is actually describing two choices in life. As one reads more literature, he or she begins to interpret works in many ways and think beyond what is actually written. As one’s experience with literature beings to deepen, he or she recognizes the successes and failures of human beings.

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Secondly, writers use success and failure stories to make one think about his or her actions in life. In Housman’s poem, “To an Athlete Dying Young,” he suggests that life and glory is short. The best way to deal with life is to slip away from the world unnoticed because glories have a short duration. The poem helps a person reflect on his or her feelings of fame, glory, and success because it can be lost at any time and can transfer one’s life. Poets and writers make the reader think more of whom they are and write works on things that are relative to real life.

Lastly, literature can change a person’s point of view on global issues. It lets one feel like he or she has an opinion on issues. One’s reaction to literature is based on what the author intended for the readers to receive. For example, in a Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman gets put on commission and he thinks he has lost everything because he does not have much money. Willy decides to kill himself at the end of the play so that his wife and sons get the insurance money.

The plays shows the readers how money can begin to control one’s mind and how people react without it. Some people would argue that Willy’s choice was the best because he was looking out for his family. Other people believe that the best thing to do in a situation like that is to acknowledge and seek financial help without being ashamed. This story can change how one can feel about other people’s financial status and make he or she realize that some people are afraid to ask for help in a time of need. Most importantly, literature has the ability to help one mature mentally and form his or her own personal viewpoints.

Through imagination, recognition, and the ability to form a viewpoint, literature helps one to gain knowledge and a better understanding of life. Many things that readers come across are written to either prove a point or to teach a life lesson. Readers may not think everything that he or she reads is enjoyable, but there is something in every story that can strike our emotions and shape our values in life. Therefore, literature establishes more thought and expression of the nature of human experience.

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