What Is Literature? Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 5 September 2016

What Is Literature?

According to wiki. answers. com, literature is a term used to describe written or spoken material. The term is most commonly used to refer to words of the creative imagination including works of poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction. But in today’s society, there is a lot of question of what is literature and what is not literature. Literature evolves as society does and comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. May it be a novel, poetry, or even graffiti on a building, society expresses their thoughts in different ways.

The only form that is not literature, is that of the unwritten. Many consider literature to be a conservative matter, expressed through symbolic themes, diction, etc. Literature is most commonly categorized in novels, essays, and poetry. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story and prime example of old fashion literature. The story’s premise back in the days of feminism is to portray how women were kept passive during their time of need. “… you see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do?

If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency – what is one to do? ” Gilman wanted the reader to understand how the main character was neglected and the affect it lead on her mindset. The symbolism, repetition, and sentence structure are all prime examples of classic literature. As time evolves, so does our definition of literature. The classification from novels, poetry, short stories, journals, increases to new platforms. It’s midday in Kansas City, MO.

60 degrees and the sky is overcast. The towering buildings overlook the shaded streets and the vibrant colors of the parked cars contrast the dirty gray streets, cluttered with trash. Walking down the sidewalk, you glance over your right shoulder and you see an old abandoned warehouse. The structure lined with bricks tell a story over time. After appreciating the architecture from the 1900’s, the eye catches a piece of modern art canvased on the building’s brick facade. The spray painted image reads, “If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission. ” At first, morals indicate that the graffiti is wrong, but then

it sets in. The mind analyzes the meaning behind the message, and takes in knowledge. Sometimes to be successful in life, you need to make chances. Everything about the quote on the abandoned brick building is the true meaning of literature. The quote is placed on a building in the form of graffiti, which is an illegal act of vandalism. If permission would have been asked to paint the building with such a message, the answer would have been a no. But like the quote said, if you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission. The quote in fact, is great because it gives you hope to become great.

This is a prime definition of new age literature. Now that literature has been defined, the question remains, what isn’t literature? Literature is anything that communicates an idea/meaning/emotion. The negative side of that or the offset meaning, is what goes unwritten is the only form that is not literature. When starting the writing process, students are taught to brainstorm. Brainstorming is an outlet to get all thoughts out on paper. Any possible idea that comes to mind gets written down and can become a foundation for a great piece of literature. The ideas that don’t make it on paper, those are not literature.

They are the flowers that didn’t bloom, the car that wouldn’t run, and the dog who couldn’t find his ball. An unwritten work will never be enjoyed by a reader. It will not inspire, motivate, or challenge those who come across it. All non literature has the potential to become literature. After all, it is the blank slate for which all great works of literature are created. In conclusion, According to wiki. answers. com, literature is a term used to describe written or spoken material. The term is most commonly used to refer to words of the creative imagination including works of poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction.

Society questions new age forms of literature compared to classic forms of literature. But just like all other aspects of society, the standards evolve as man does. Growing from novels, poetry, and short stories, to works of art on an old abandoned brick warehouse, any form of written work is literature and the thoughts that are unwritten are not literature. As state earlier, literature evolves as society does and comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. May it be a novel, poetry, or even graffiti on a building, society expresses their thoughts in different ways. The only form that is not literature, is that of the unwritten.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 5 September 2016

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