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Define Literature


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My first lesson in school in literature was that Literature is the reflection of society. What would you say that literature is to you personally.

Yes, I can relate to that.  I also believe that literature can change society.  Through literature authors can give us a vision of possibilities that we may not have considered.  They might inspire us.  They might also challenge us collectively to do better and to be better as humans.  Literature can evoke all kinds of deep emotion from compassion and love to shock, dismay and outrage.

I think literature can take simple stories of ordinary people and universalize them -- make them meaningful and timeless.  That's the case with such classics in English literature as Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" or Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." 

I think literature can also warn us of what may happen if we lose our humanity; if we become callous, indifferent, or if we sacrifice our liberty.  George Orwell's "1984" is a good example.  It's a cautionary tale of what might happen if we were to lose the freedom we take for granted. 

I'm very glad we have this section of the forum, to share some of our favorite books and authors and subjects related to published works in English.  I know from reading other threads that there are many here who learned English and were motivated, in part, by their interest in reading various works in English.

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The ability of authors to change and portray  society is what made me to fall in love with litreature. It just facsinates me the way that when you are reading you are transported to another planet in terms of thought. How it prompts somone to wonder why things happen in one particular way instead of another one. I think the great thinkers in the world transmit their ideas  through writing.

I am really happy with this part of the forum.

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Literature is a piece of a culture expressed into words. Literature is a mirror of what is happening in one's society. It is used to express to other people, the context of a culture, or as a self-reflection of the things where that culture might be falling behind.

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Yes, I can relate to that.  I also believe that literature can change society.  Through literature authors can give us a vision of possibilities that we may not have considered.  They might inspire us.  They might also challenge us collectively to do better and to be better as humans.  Literature can evoke all kinds of deep emotion from compassion and love to shock, dismay and outrage.

I think literature can take simple stories of ordinary people and universalize them -- make them meaningful and timeless.  That's the case with such classics in English literature as Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" or Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." 

I think literature can also warn us of what may happen if we lose our humanity; if we become callous, indifferent, or if we sacrifice our liberty.  George Orwell's "1984" is a good example.  It's a cautionary tale of what might happen if we were to lose the freedom we take for granted. 

I'm very glad we have this section of the forum, to share some of our favorite books and authors and subjects related to published works in English.  I know from reading other threads that there are many here who learned English and were motivated, in part, by their interest in reading various works in English.

I agree entirely with this quote. As a former English Literature major, I noticed that literature reflects society and is used to show the disorder within its order, or its flaws and shortcomings. Literature can motivate society to change or improve the society, or at least question the status quo. It can also belittle, mock, or ridicule the so-called heroes in society, while making ordinary people larger than life as mentioned in this quote. Literature allows to be more aware of the world around and to have an inquiring mind, which would necessarily accept social norms and to push the envelope if it is needed.

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I like what you wrote, jodiann.  If you want to change people one of the best ways is to write a story that strikes a nerve.  Several works of fiction have changed me.  You will be better served if you target a younger audience.  Most people develop their life views while in school and are hard to change afterwards.  So, if you can write a book that is read in schools then you'll have a good chance to change views and behaviors.  I'm thinking of the Catcher in the Rye when I type this.

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I like what you wrote, jodiann.  If you want to change people one of the best ways is to write a story that strikes a nerve.  Several works of fiction have changed me.  You will be better served if you target a younger audience.  Most people develop their life views while in school and are hard to change afterwards.  So, if you can write a book that is read in schools then you'll have a good chance to change views and behaviors.  I'm thinking of the Catcher in the Rye when I type this.

One thing that I love about literature is the way i can be able to show so much of humanity using different methods. I have really learned more from reading a book  thab I have ever learned watching the television. What is more fasinating to me is how  you can get great depth only using words. I just love literature.

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I like limon's definition.  It's interesting how such a simple term can have so many possible definitions.  Even though I'm not a huge fan of the genre, if literation is a reflection of society, it's interesting to me how much insight and value science fiction has.

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It's storytelling, storytelling which does indeed reflect society! All literature has to be based on some aspect of society, right? The thing that makes it interesting is the many facets of your life or the author's life. Different cultures give it a different angle, as well.

I love literature, don't you?

I like limon's definition.  It's interesting how such a simple term can have so many possible definitions.  Even though I'm not a huge fan of the genre, if literation is a reflection of society, it's interesting to me how much insight and value science fiction has.

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One thing that I love about literature is the way i can be able to show so much of humanity using different methods. I have really learned more from reading a book  thab I have ever learned watching the television. What is more fasinating to me is how  you can get great depth only using words. I just love literature.

That's an excellent way of looking at literature.  I read books for the same reason.  It lets you inside the author's mind while a television program merely shows people acting.  There's little introspection, detail or depth to the characters compared to what you find in works of fiction.
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That's an excellent way of looking at literature.  I read books for the same reason.  It lets you inside the author's mind while a television program merely shows people acting.  There's little introspection, detail or depth to the characters compared to what you find in works of fiction.

Yes, absolutely.  Even the best of television drama pales in comparison to literature.  I find I am very impatient with TV dramas for that reason. It's actually been quite some time that I watched any TV drama from beginning to end.

I greatly prefer literature and that kind of elevating and transporting experience of seeing the world through the eyes of characters whose journey can be emotionally compelling even as it is instructive.  There are some works of fiction with specific chapters or passages that I've read many times because I enjoy the language and the power of the storytelling so much.  It doesn't even matter that I know the outcome.  It's a chance to relieve the experience once again. 

And of course, discovering new books and new authors is a joy as well. :)

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