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Why is Literature Valuable in our Society?

"Since I was a child, at the ripe age of 6, I welcomed literature with open arms.", shares Mehreen, English Tutor at Carfax Education. I remember squinting in the dark, reading books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlotte’s Web, well past my bedtime. Literature has always been my escape from reality, especially when it came to the notorious Harry Potter book series - I was obsessed.

The characters came to life, and I cried and laughed with them. A whole new world opened to me: one where chocolates jumped around, staircases moved, and a room could magically clean itself. Even though I knew it was an imaginary world, I would secretly wait for my acceptance letter from Hogwarts (something I still catch myself doing as an adult). That is what Literature is capable of, it is an escape to another world, a safe haven, for many individuals like me. With that being said, literature is more than just an escape from reality and a form of entertainment. Literature has surpassed time and is a big part of the modern-day world and our society. Can you envision a world without books and rich literature? Without the classics? A world with only science, maths, and technology? A world where Literature is present in our daily lives and helps us in more ways than we realise.

Be a Better Speaker and Writer It is evident when people are passionate readers. People who engage themselves in literature with reading and writing have an advantage because they are better at expressing themselves and nailing a point. Becoming involved with literature can help you in situations such as explaining something complicated or arguing a point.

Reading greatly benefits writing- it can stimulate imagination, expand vocabulary and provide insight into different literary styles, organization of ideas, character development and more. While reading has similar advantages to writing, it can also help you destress and relax, improve concentration and memory, and last but not least- enhance your knowledge and creativity. Overall, literature makes you an effective 21st-century communicator, both, verbally and in written form. Developing Critical Thinking

Literature is a wonderful way for students to learn how to think critically. Through extensive reading and writing, students develop their analytical skills, interpretation, and self-expression. To understand the general meaning of the text, you need to dig into a story and find out the cause behind the events. Through a degree in English Literature, you receive a thorough introduction to important literary genres such as novels, poems, and criticism writing. Not to mention being introduced to the work of established authors such as Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens and Milton- as well as modern-day ones.

Literature students must interpret symbols, make logical connections, search and infer themes, and read between the lines. English Literature helps to build creative and critical thinking skills which are exchangeable with other aspects of our lives. Literature within History Literature has been our trusted telescope in the past. It transports us back in time and educates us about people who walked on Earth before us. We can gather a better understanding of culture and have a greater appreciation for them. We are educated through the ways history is documented, in the forms of manuscripts and through speech. For instance, we can gather history from ancient Egypt through hieroglyphics and paintings. The symbols Egyptians left behind are what we now use to understand their culture. The same goes for Greek and Roman culture and their intricate writing, Logographoi, is prose writing which describes the origins of towns, people, and places. Such is the power of literature and words; they have the power to inspire meaning, modernise a nation and construct movements. History and Literature are intertwined forever. Gain a Better Understanding of the World Literature helps us appreciate the world and have a better understanding of others. Literary works are like windows to the soul and different worlds. Reading books and literary works created by others educates us about their unique cultures and ideas. We learn about other people’s experiences and perspectives, which helps us look at things differently. Literature broadens our minds and thoughts.

We gain an insight into the authors’ thoughts and ideas and the historical and cultural background from which these ideas originated. Nowadays, we live in a progressively globalized world, and preserving compassion and understanding of its wonderful diversity is becoming increasingly important. Literature and Psychology Both literature and psychology offer similar angles to human behaviour and thinking processes. Both offer insight into how people interact, our desires, and the outcomes of certain behaviours. Literature has an abundance of human emotions and interactions which are portrayed in novels, plays, poems, and journals. While reading and analysing literature, we are simultaneously exploring human psychology through different characters. Through the lens of literature, we realise that fundamental human emotions like happiness, sadness, rage, guilt, jealousy, and pride are universal- which is also advantageous to our relationships.

Lastly, literature can also give insight into mental illnesses. Several literary works contain characters with mental illnesses. Literature can be of support to people with a mental illness diagnosis to deal with a negative stigma and educate the healthy population not to adopt attitudes that feed the stigma. An infamous and groundbreaking example work of literature that highlighted the mental health and demanding social expectations of women is ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by the feminist revolutionary author Charlotte Perkins published in 1892. The spellbinding semi-autobiography short story was based on Gilman's own experience of suffering from serious postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter. Her battle with postpartum depression and the doctors she dealt with during her illness inspired her to write the spellbinding semi-autobiography and educate society and its future generations. Shapes your career and profile Knowledge is power. Being involved with good literature makes you more knowledgeable and cultured, allowing you to trade and launch ideas- whether you are at school or at your workplace.

It takes years to acquire information firsthand, whereas a book is a neat compilation of massive amounts of information. They encompass wisdom and advice from people with similar circumstances and situations. Not all incentives for reading literature are philanthropic! Literature is immortal- not only is it the window to the past, but it also connects us to the present and the future. It opens a world of insight and creativity, but it also helps us develop skills that are crucial for our current global environment. Literature can also provide an excellent opportunity to have profound conversations with friends and family. Understanding Literature can enhance our ability to read, write, persuade, and analyse by making sense of the world through stories, poems, and plays. These are all the ways literature subtly enriches our lives and influences us to be insightful individuals. Article by Mehreen, our English Tutor at Carfax Education Dubai

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