Monday, April 25, 2011
Does Literature Even Matter?
Last week, we talked briefly about the purpose of literature and its role as a "performance." It was towards the end of class, so we didn't have much time to discuss, and I was curious as to what everyone thought about this topic. What does literature accomplish? Now that we are finishing up the semester, I think this is a good, broad question to ask. I'm an English major, and I've always pondered this. I haven't taken Critical Methods yet, but I hear that this is one of the major questions that class aims to answer. Writers oftentimes write stories that respond to the social and political tensions of their time period, but they do not necessarily go out and act upon the message they send to their readers. Can literature inspire readers to act, or is literature simply a "performance" meant to entertain? Thoreau himself once said, "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."