Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What is Literature?

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Outline four main points of the article 'What is Literature?'

1. Literature has been placed on a paradoxical situation

Literature seems to approaching end in this modern century because the emergence of different media. And words are almost replaced by sounds and images. Besides, the recent definition of literature also restricts the its area covered. As the reasons mentioned above, the literature come to an end. However, literature is, in fact, something perennial and universal. Literature will not disappear until the end of human time. That means, literature will exist with the human society and culture. It can be proved by some inherited plays, songs and writing. In sum, literature is placed on a paradoxical situation, which somehow confuses people.

2. Spread of Literature

There are some reasons responsible for the spread of literature. The first one is the growth of printed books and newspaper. In the meantime, literacy of people was widespread. Thus, literature can be developed.

The second reason is the freedom of speech and access to printed material had been greatly increased in modern democracies. People can express themselves and criticize things freely. It encourages people to think and imagine the materials they read. Besides, the laws protect the speech of individuals or groups. And this protection can be reflected in the statement we often see, "Any resemblance to real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental." Therefore, people are granted more room for their writing.

The last reason is literature itself is a powerful tool to spread and enter people¡¦s heart, such as bible and Shakespeare writing. These literature not only change our mind but also or behaviours. Therefore, literature is conductive in nature.

3. Decline of Literature

The first reason is the globalization of the world. Most countries are now multilingual and mutli-cultural. People living in these countries would have different cultures and backgrounds. The bond of literature within a country is thus weakened and the literature cannot uniquely developed.

Another reason is nowadays literature is gradually replaced by mutli-media and internet, there are a lot of written works being re-edited and shown on the TV or radio programmes. Although people still can get the content and the ideas of those works, but they do so by secondary resource rather than the primary resource, that is the original works. And this will hinder the study and further research on literature.

The last reason is the attitude towards literature has been changed. Nowadays, literature may be considered outdated and obsolete. In addition, the literature departments of universities are now finding difficulties in getting funding to do researches on the literary works since the society no longer needs the university as the primary place to study literature. Those researches can be done in humanities department in colleges or universities and it leads the literature department loses its standing.

In conclusion, the decline of literature thanks to the globalization, the growth of mutli-media and the attitude towards literature. With the growth of technology, the importance of literature has been being ignored.

4. Literature is a path to access imaginary world

Literature is not only a path to express or access reality, but also to access our imaginary world. Literature, indeed, does reflect the social situation and even national culture at the time the works being written. It means, literary works in different period indicate different thoughts. Besides, literature is a place where people can express or present their imaginations or hope of Utopia. Through the power of words in the literary works, sometimes changes of social atmosphere can be occurred by literary influence to readers.

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