March 25, 2013
Prior Expectations Regarding Literary Masterpieces
Literature reveals the soul of a civilization. The manner in which a civilization develops is in direct correlation with the quality and nature of its literature. Literary masterpieces are treasure troves to be read, analyzed, and enjoyed. At first, many ancient masterpieces may seem hard to comprehend for a novice reader; however, the effort exerted to grasp their merit is well worth the result. A Yiddish saying states that life without creativity is existence without joy. Obtaining an understanding and appreciation of successful literature opens the door to learning about the author, the author’s culture, and the necessary elements to emulate the techniques to produce such a masterpiece. Exposure to literary masterpieces began in my high school years. Ontario educational standards required every student to take classes in Greek, Roman, and Norse literature. Learning ancient Greek and Latin enriched my education and understanding of the value of their literature, and studies of the techniques and styles of each genre. Comprehending the nuances of their languages enhanced the comprehension of these masterpieces. Also I learned illiteracy of the general populous was the reason for early writings written in poetic format so it could be sung. Hesiod, Homer, and Virgil were the master-storytellers who used elements such as personification, metaphors, onomatopoeia, and similes to make their stories come alive to the listener; for example, “The fertile earth being burnt, roared out…” provides an auditory picture of the viciousness of the battle (2008, p. 59). “The Theogony”, “Iliad,” and “Aeneid” describe the hierarchy and intrigue of the immortals, including their interaction among themselves and with mortals. The style and techniques applied in literary masterpieces should...