What is Literature? Why Study Literature?
At often times, literature is thought of as lackluster works and long books and passages. People often think that literature is one thing, not knowing that it is in actuality composed of several elements that we all use in our daily lives. In order to get a clear understanding of exactly what literature is, we must first identify the definition. According to Merriam- Webster, literature is defined as the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age; the body of writings on a particular subject : printed matter. This definition however is a bit deceiving in truly understanding what literature really is. In the dictionary definition of literature, it is constantly being referred to as written works, however, it known from the broad perspective of literature that literature can be in oral from as well as written from. The oral form includes the literature types of song, folklore, fables and myths. The written form, on the other hand can either be in the real form of biographies and science, or the imaginative form of poetry, prose fiction and drama. The specific perspective of literature makes a clearer example of how literature plays a critical role in our lives. The specific perspective of literature is composed of poetry, prose and drama. We are surrounded by poetry, prose, and drama everyday of our lives. Whether it is a song that we are listening to on the radio or in the supermarket, or a story that we are telling to someone that we know, or a comedic or tragedy movie or show that we are watching on television.
There are a lot of reasons why we study literature and all of these reasons fall under three very important values: Human Value, Thought Value: and Language Value. All three values go hand in hand. An individual's human value often translates to their thought value, which often translates to their language value, which is why the study of literature is very important.
Cited: Kirszner and Mandell, Literature (Reading, Reacting Writing), 5th Ed.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2005 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
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