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Value of Literature

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The Value of Literature
Literature can be used to place value on a wide span of topics. From books that may break our hearts to one’s that make us laugh uncontrollably. Even though literature is only written in words, it is our imagination that makes those words come to reality, by the way we see the words in our imaginations. Whatever literature that is read, it is in the perspective of the author and you are reading through the lens of the writer. Philip Marchand said “Not to understand the disposition of things is the fate of children or slaves. Imaginative literature is the race's best tool for acquiring such understanding. This is the childishness and slavishness in the soul of someone who cannot respond to great literature.” Marchand talks about how our imagination is one of the most important tools that an individual can have. Ultimately, with the way literature uses up the creativity side of the brain, it truly helps expand our imagination.
From a very young age, many of us were introduced to books with big pictures and little words. These simple little books were meant to teach us the names of colours, the alphabet and what noise animals made. While continuing to grow older, individuals starts to explore more genres of literature to find what they enjoy. For example, in the last couple years of high school, I have really gotten into the horror/mystery genres of book which is the reason I chose The Shining as my ISU novel. The fact that I had read The Shining before watching the film, had made me see the characters in the film differently than I had imagined while I was reading the book. In other words, like Stephen had said during our book talks, when we read about characters in a novel, we create our own image of them and when the movie of the book comes out, we usually do not see the characters the way we had created, but we see the way the director of the movie has created in his imagination. For instance, in the film The Shining, the Woman in Room 217 was nothing like what I had imagined her to look like when I was reading the book. This goes to show that everyone has different imaginations and it is what makes literature helps expand it more and more each time we pick up a piece of writing.
Additionally, without imagination where would the human race be? Everything that is non - nature related came from imagination of someone. Without our imagination where would the amazing novels we love to read like Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Hunger Games be? Dr. Lyle Dorsett said “He spent more time in books and an imaginary world of “dressed animals” and “knights in armor.” But he did more than read books, he wrote and illustrated his own stories as well”. This was written about C.S. Lewis early stage in life he had drawn pictures and wrote about them and how it had eventually helped him in the future to write one of his most famous novels The Chronicles of Narnia. Furthermore, Lewis’ friendship with J.R.R Tolkien also impacted him in writing The Chronicles of Narnia. Kevin Belmonte, a writer for the Huffington’s Post said “But Lewis had loved fantasy literature since his early years, and was then deeply influenced by his reading of George MacDonald’s great imaginative tale Phantastes. “I knew that I had crossed a great frontier,” he would later write”. Lewis created an imaginary world called “Boxen” where animals had adventures and were able to talk and his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien, who was the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were huge influences for C.S. Lewis to start The Chronicles of Narnia. Especially in our generation now with having billions of books that have been written, literature can be one of the most influential item that individuals use to expand their imaginations.
The perspective of authors of literature helps readers develop their imagination because they are able to grab ideas from a new point of view. Stephen Dobyns said “Literature can remove us from our essential isolation and join us in community of shared human experience” Through literature, writers are able to share their views on topics they write about and the readers are able to experience the way the author feels which connects the readers to the writers. For instance, C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters exemplifies how he is trying to share his religious views to his readers. “The Enemy’s demand on humans takes the form of a dilemma; either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy” (Lewis 93). Lewis talks about how sex should be saved until marriage and that everyone should stay abstinent. Also, Stephen King’s The Shining, there are many supernatural events that happen throughout the novel that readers can only imagine. For example, when Jack starts to have psychotic breakdowns. “Stop fooling, doc. Bedtimes bedtime. Spanking if you don’t open up” (King 179). These parts in the novel were scenes that made me picture what would be happening if it were a movie scene. With that being said, by reading literature, readers are able to learn new perspectives of authors and with that, their imaginations can be developed more.

Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. He believes that knowledge is very limited to what the human race knows, but imagination is an endless thought throughout the world. Everything you see around you that you use in an everyday life is a product of someone’s imagination. For example, boats, planes, computers, cars, glass, mirrors and a toothbrush have all came from the imagination of an individual. Additionally, The Screwtape Letters was a novel that made me think about how the scene would have been set up at various sections of the novel, like at the beginning of the book Screwtape is writing to Wormwood about what his duties are as a devil (Lewis 2). I had imagined the setting as if it were in a dark room with candles around to show some light and Screwtape’s face covered by the shadows and just talking out loud what he is writing down. Of course, the image of Screwtape to other readers would be different than mine, but that proves that everyone's imagination is different from one another.

Reading each word, sentence of any literature, the human brain processes it right away. During this process, we start to see it in our heads and we use our imagination to do so. For example, Harry Potter is a novel that is all about using your imagination when reading the book because it is about a magical world that readers have not experienced. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, readers are introduced to a mythological animal called the “Hippogriff”, which is an animal with a body of a horse and the head and wings of an eagle, and immediately we start to use our imagination to picture what this mythical creature would look like. Also, in the novel The Hunger Games, when the Gamemakers released the wolf mutts, I had many ideas of how they would look like if they were real because they were creatures that the author had made up. Of course imagining these creatures in my mind was all before the movie had come out for both Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

In conclusion, even though literature seems like they are just words, they are so much more than that if individuals use their imaginations. Literature can expand the imagination and develop interests through reading. Like Bea said during our books talks that The House of the Scorpions had really caught her interest in biology and genetics. Some literature are so good that you wish they would never end, it keeps you up at night just to see how it will end. Literature can bring tears, joy, education, and just about anything.

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