Studying Literature

Posted on April 16, 2010

Meenakshi Gaur:

Literature is the only part of the educational curriculum that deals directly with the actual world of lived experience. World literature contains most available knowledge about humanity and our interactions with the world at large. The various shades of emotions, feelings and thoughts are evoked in a literary work. Some of life’s most important lessons are subtly expressed in this subject. A good work of literature starts when we finish reading it. It starts with the free thinking process. Study of literature hones the language skills and teaches the valuable techniques for communication. Words can form a nation and language is the single most important tool of leadership and great leaders embrace its study.

In the beginning, the student might encounter big jargoned words whose meaning cannot be accommodated within his/her limited lexicon. The words turn enemy and the ever increasing heap of novels and reading material makes one hate Literature. But slowly and gradually, the student understands the inherent meaning of the words. He/she learns the art of deciphering the word meaning, by reading its Context. Reading novels, no longer remain a tiring process but turns into the cultivation process. Ambiguity, nuance and fine art of criticism gives the language depth and endless possibility. Thus learning, appreciating and reveling language furthers the student’s mastery over language.

The student of Literature has to learn, to question his /her accepted knowledge. The more and the newer ideas the student is exposed to, the more of his/her own accepted assumptions will be put to question. Literature forces its readers to challenge their simplistic accepted conceptions. An untold amount of opinions and words and reactions are absorbed while studying Literature. It refines the student’s ability to think, and guides him/her towards informed, mature judgment.

Literature allows its students to experience the cultures and beliefs of others. It encourages a personal understanding for others’ beliefs. It makes the student understand where other people are coming from and their different cultural, social and historic backgrounds.

The student gets introduced to the ideas of Literary Philosophies. The ideas like author has no authority over his work or Author’s Death, Capitalism, Utilitarianism, Marxism, Cultural Studies, Post-Colonial studies, Gender Studies, Comparative studies and various other theories open the world of analyses. Such diverse philosophies make the reasoning ability of the student strong; every author becomes distinct and uniqueness of the language, decked with intelligent criticism finally shapes the Literature student.

Like the humanist’s believed, literature should be read and studied because it enriches us as human beings. It develops our moral imagination, our capacity to sympathize with other people, and our ability to understand our existence through the experience of written words. Literature lends the different outlook to the settled normal looking world and situations. The ability to reason and challenge on the sheer basis of logic is the true gift of literature to its students which stays forever with them.

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