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Writing Proficiency Exam Essay

Literature should be read and enjoyed by everyone because it provides enjoyment, knowledge, and an escape from reality for its readers. “Why Literature?” by Mario Vargas Llosa and “on Reading Trash” by Bob Swift describe how important literature is to society and the people who read it. Literature while it is artistic in a sense is also a form of entertainment for the people who read it. Literature can show us a world of magic and wizards or tell a tale of courage while hunting down a whale. Through great literature we can get a better understanding of the world around us and discover a world that could never have been imagined.

As technology advances the enjoyment of reading literature gets lost in the fast paced modern culture. In Spain, a recent survey revealed that half of that country’s population has never read a book (Llosa, 1). However, if people can read a book they enjoy they will be able to discover their niche in the world of literature. According to Swift, if you get kids interested in reading books they will eventually go on to the grander literature all by themselves (Swift, 1). By reading “popular” fiction such as Nancy Drew and Conan the Barbarian, children will grow into reading “classic” literature when they find enjoyment in reading.

In addition to being amusing to the readers, literature also stimulates our minds by imparting knowledge and inspiring readers. Nothing teaches us better than literature to see, in ethnic and cultural differences, the richness of the human patrimony, and to prize those differences as a manifestation of humanity’s multifaceted creativity (Llosa, 2). Situations that people don’t normally happen to them can be described through literature.

Furthermore, by reading about these diverse cultural differences readers can gain knowledge of cultures and situations that they have not experienced. The National Endowment for the Humanities says that every high school graduate should have read 30 great works of literature, including the Bible, Shakespeare, and Moby Dick (Swift, 1). These notable works of literature illustrate the various unknown cultures and environments that are unfamiliar to the readers so that the reader can acquire an understanding about the unknown literary environment.

Lastly, as readers discover their favorite type of literature they become immersed in a world beyond their imagination. When we close the book and abandon literary fiction, we return to actual existence and compare it to the splendid land that we have just left (Llosa, 3). After reading a great novel, we realize that the reality that we return to is a disappointment compared to the fantasized world inside the novel. Swift also discovered a world inside of novels. Swift writes about his experiences of “swinging through jungles with Tarzan, fighting Martians with John Carter, and exploring Pellucidar at the Earth’s core.” As readers uncover the countless tales in novels, they can experience these fantastic adventures.

In conclusion, the two writers believe people should read anything that interests them, regardless of genre. By allowing people to read what they want, people will enjoy reading and the amount of people who read will increase. Literature also gives the reader an escape from reality and imparts knowledge on them that they would not normally come across. Therefore, as readers discover their interest in the literary world, people will gravitate towards literature as a form of entertainment, as opposed to television or the Internet.


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