The Trans Formative Qualities Of Literature Essay

1062 words - 5 pages

A simple open ended question that leads to countless possibilities, from the quick response of “why not literature” to a response pulled from the depths of critical thought and much conjecture. Throughout history literature has helped form the social context of our society greatly. Some say literature is dying a slow death. What is to happen if the old standards of literary excellent are removed from high schools and universities. In our text book, Literature: The Human Experience, David Foster Wallace one of the contributors wrote in preface for instructors:
“We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy's impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character's pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive, we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple.” (v)
Wallace's quotation proposes a link or a leap in the reader's mind to embody characters emotions with their own. Not much of anything else can do this. Case in point, from the confines of his shoe box cell on Robben Island a man had little else than literature to keep his mind occupied. Sentenced to a life in prison for seeking justice for his people from an apartheid government, Nelson Mandela read what ever he could get his hands on. A disguised book, the “Complete Works of Shakespeare” later to be known as the Robben Island Bible. The book was smuggled into the jail by political prisoner Sonny Venkatrathnam, who disguised it in colorful Diwali cards celebrating the Hindu festival of lights, finally convincing the warden it was his bible. Between the years of 1975 – 1978, the book was passed between 33 of Venkatrathnam's fellow prisoners. Consequently, many inmates autographed and dated their names beside a specific passage(s), regarding words of hardship, political unrest, or injustice. Mandela chose a passage from Julius Caesar, just before Caesar leaves for the senate to autograph; it includes the lines: “Cowards die many times before their deaths/The valiant never taste of death but once”. (McKenzie)
After 27 years of imprisonment Mandela is finally freed. Instead of him displaying a bitterness towards the Afrikaans who took his freedom he works with them to form a new South Africa. The literary works he read in prison had to have an influence on the man he became. With the recent death of Mandela people all over the world will be compelled to read about his life of work. Just as with literature, something in his story might inspire someone to look beyond their own plight in society and grasp hold of something greater.
Literature is much more than words on paper bound between cardboard. When you read between the lines you my find new meaning. In Philip Larkin works you often find a poet and his use of the vernacular a little strange or unsettling at times. Sparking my interest I decided to research Larkin in a little more depth and...

Find Another Essay On The Trans-formative Qualities of Literature

The Human-like Qualities of Immortals Essay

871 words - 3 pages I share many similar stories as the gods. These immortals share some of the same qualities that your typical human-being would have; such as love, tact, hate, and even self-pity. Though they do take excessive pride in their powers and abilities and like to proclaim them in ways such as,Tell me, Muse, of the man of many tricks, who wandered far and wide after he sacked Troy's sacred city, and saw the towns of many men and knew their mind. (Homer

Assess the leadership qualities of Hitler.

1684 words - 7 pages Assess the leadership qualities of Hitler, as leader of the Nazi party, as Chancellor and as Führer of Germany in the period 1930 to 1938 from the perspective of a committed member pf the German Communist Party.I must confess myself at a loss. In recent years, I have often found myself pondering those years, back before the Second World War. I wonder to myself why Hitler was so popular. The Nazi party did not promise anything more

An Outline of Jewish Beliefs about the Qualities of God

1537 words - 6 pages An Outline of Jewish Beliefs about the Qualities of God In this essay I am going to discuss the Jewish beliefs about Hashem and what Jews think his qualities are. I will be using examples from a famous religious scholar called Maimonides and quotes from the Torah to give evidence for my answers. Jews believe that God is omnipotent, which is to have unlimited power or authority. In the 13 Principles of Maimonides, Jews

The Qualities of the Houyhnhnm’s Civilization in Gulliver's Travels

829 words - 3 pages qualities which the Houyhnhnms possess. The Houyhnhnms do not fight against each other. They are devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and virtue. The Houyhnhnms are neither greedy nor dishonest. They work together to form a civil and productive society which cultivates virtue. As Gulliver describes humanity to his master he sees the flaws in humanity which make him want to stay with the horses. The island of the Houyhnhnms can teach humanity that

(Introduction Paper) The Impact of Formative Assessment and Feedback on Student Learning Using the Student Response System

2339 words - 9 pages achievement that teachers and students need day-to-day. Classroom assessment can provide this kind of information. Formative assessment to inform instruction and guide student learning is being underutilized. Many students are not given feedback that is effective in helping them see where they are in regard to reaching the learning goals or that provides plan for moving them forward to achieve that goal. Students are not always given the opportunity

The History of Literature

2050 words - 8 pages Literature is defined as writing or books that are influential and well-remembered. To me it is more than writing, its learning and discovering and entertainment. Literature has been an important part of culture since the Greeks and is constantly changing. If you try hard enough, I guarantee you’ll find something you’ll love to read. Greek literature is probably considered the earliest form of knowledgeable and truly devoted literature. It

The Heroic Qualities of Odysseus (The Odyssey) and Everett (O Brother, Where Art Thou)

824 words - 3 pages him in order to save Tommy. His leadership in executing this plan was the only reason it worked, since the other men did their part and he did more than his. Both of these men are great leaders. All of the qualities shown in these men are important in showing heroism. Heroism is having qualities that highlight someone's unique and noble abilities. Both of these men portray a massive amount of heroism in their stories.

The Formative Years of The Louisiana Purchase

1087 words - 4 pages To buy or not to buy, that is the question. Although it was the greatest “real estate” deal, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was perhaps one of the most controversial events in American History. President Thomas Jefferson, although he was a Founding Father and the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence, faced major opposition with his decision to purchase the Louisiana Territory from the French. Most of the opposition he faced

Qualities of a Hero Illustrated in Homer’s Epic Poem, The Iliad

645 words - 3 pages The Ancient Greeks idealized and worshiped their heroes, this is portrayed in Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad. To become a hero in ancient Greece, one would have to live and die in pursuit of glory and honor. Both Achilles and Hector seek victory in battle to become the “true hero.” Although both characters possess many hero-like qualities, Hector proved to be the genuine hero. Heroes are viewed differently today as the average person

Qualities of a Good Ruler- Based on Niccolo Machiavelli's - "The Prince."

1038 words - 4 pages In history, the main reason why a nation prospers is because of its leader. The best written piece I have come across on this topic is Niccolo Machiavelli's book, "The Prince". A leader should be intelligent, strong, caring and devoted to his subjects. Although people have different opinions in the qualities of a good ruler, all believe that a leader should help his nation grow and thrive.In his book, "The Prince", Niccolo Machiavelli states his

Prospero as a Self-Centred Magician Who Demonstrates Some of the Worst Qualities

2841 words - 11 pages Prospero as a Self-Centred Magician Who Demonstrates Some of the Worst Qualities "The Tempest" was one of Shakespeare's last plays and unlike the earlier ones didn't really fit into any certain genre, instead it had elements of all the themes within it: Also a lot of his plays had sad endings, take "Romeo and Juliet" a very romantic play that had a tragic ending but this changed when he was writing his last plays

Similar Essays

The Formative Years Of The Us Government

1048 words - 4 pages .4). The new government under the new Constitution was led by Mr. President George Washington and Vice President John Adams. During the formative years of our new government, the interests of the north and south, rich and poor, and industry and agriculture were all put in the same box of dissent until to profoundly different vision for the country erupted. The two main figures part of the Washington administration were the Treasury Secretary

The Dual Qualities Of Nature (

977 words - 4 pages The Dual Qualities of Nature (romeo and Julliet) Everything in life has the potential to be both good and evil. In Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet, there are many contrasts between, people, words, things, and actions. Shakespeare warns us that nature is the source of both life and destruction. In Act II scene iii, Friar Lawrence addresses in a monologue the binary traits of nature. In act II scene iii, the Friar is outside

The Qualities Of Real Friends Essay

941 words - 4 pages The Qualities of Real Friends To have friends is an essential part of life and comfort. When you were little you had friends in school that you could play with. You shared your toys with them and laughed with them while the teacher was speaking. When you were in middle school, you probably adopted a clique of friends to see after class and hang out with after school. Later on in high school, you most likely narrowed your choice

Machiavelli And The Qualities Of The Prince

863 words - 3 pages Qualities of the Prince, the author (Niccolo Machiavelli) states that the qualities of a prince should have great moral principles because of the strengths that come with the power. Machiavelli believes a prince should be the wisest of all the wise men for that he should be feared mostly instead of loved. This gives a sense of sacredness to others who dare to betray a most powerful royal prince. In the other hand, their are generals who can be