Literature Is Valuable

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There has been some debate throughout literary history on whether or not literature is valuable and if it can teach its readers anything of value. In Plato’s Ion, Socrates implies that there is no value in literature and that nothing can be learned from indulging in it. However, in many other works there are strong arguments that oppose Socrates’ view. Sir Philip Sidney raises the arguments in his work “An Apology for Poetry”. Lisa Zunshine has a strong argument in “Theory of Mind and Experimental Representations of Fictional Consciousness” as well. The arguments Sidney raises in “An Apology for Poetry” and Zunshine’s view in “Theory of Mind and Experimental Representations of Fictional Consciousness” can be applied to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to show that literature is valuable because it can educate readers, present a moral lesson in a way that can be learned best, and strengthen readers’ cognitive abilities.

The first argument that Sidney raises is, “Poesy therefore is an art of imitation, for so Aristotle termeth it in his word mimesis, that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting, or figuring forth – to speak metaphorically, a speaking picture; with this end, to teach and delight” (139). This argument is stating that poetry can educate a reader on many different things by providing a scene, passage, or example that can essentially be imitated. This argument can be applied to the scene in “A Christmas Carol” where Scrooge approached one of the gentlemen who was asking for donations for the poor and the destitute. Scrooge hoped that the gentleman achieved what he aimed to do yesterday and then offered money of his own. Scrooge told the gentleman, “Not a farthing less. A great many back-payments are included in it, I assure you” (73-74). This scene from “A Christmas Carol” symbolizes the generosity that has overcome Scrooge after meeting with the three ghosts. Many people are raised with exposure to generosity. However, some people may not know...
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