Literature & Life

Relevance of Literature in Modern Times

We are living in a modern era. An era of technology, machines and internet. This era has provided us everything…. but it has also made us very busy… and a kind of half-machine, half-man… Which reminds me of a wonderful film called Modern Times made by Charlie Chaplin. The movie is obviously a comedy as it’s made by Chaplin but besides being funny the movie also comments on the modern world, modern society and how humans have turned into machines. In such a world one may think that literature has no value! But that could be thought by a person who has never ever read literature in his/her life but the people who read literature, know the true value of literature.

When we read literature, we get Out of the World experience. William J. Long has beautifully tried to explain this experience through the story of the Shell and the Book in his book entitled English Literature Its History and Its Significance for the Life of the English Speaking World. He says,

“A child and a man were one day walking on the seashore when the child found a little shell and held it to his ear. Suddenly he heard sounds, –strange, low, melodious sounds, as if the shell were remembering and repeating to itself the murmurs of its ocean home. The child’s face filled with wonder as he listened. Here in the little shell, apparently, was a voice from another world, and he listened with delight to its mystery and music. Then came the man, explaining that the child heard nothing strange; that the pearly curves of the shell simply caught a multitude of sounds too faint for human ears, and filled the glimmering hollows with the murmur of innumerable echoes. It was not a new world, but only the unnoticed harmony of the old that had aroused the child’s wonder.” 

Such an experience we get when we begin to read and study literature as literature makes us notice the unnoticed harmony of the world.

It is said that literature is the mirror of the society and so it imitates the reality… on the contrary literature not merely imitates the reality but in fact it adds more to the reality and therefore it makes us think, imagine and create something new as it helps the mind to expand its horizons and guide in the right direction. While reading literature one gets connected with the story and the characters of that particular literary work very deeply therefore it has the power to influence our minds. Even a single book can inspire us to achieve great things in life.

History records merely the past events but literature gives us the account of everything from a particular era, including the psychology of the people in that era, their food, culture, lifestyle, superstitions, beliefs etc. It teaches us the meaning of life and we are the subject matter of literature. We become reasonable and rational by reading literature and that is the reason why people who love literature and know the value of literature will never stop reading it.

Jogan More

1 thought on “Relevance of Literature in Modern Times”

  1. Reading can take us into different realms and see other people’s creative thought processes. Whether it’s flying into Neverland, wandering through Middle Earth, battling at Hogwarts, or rafting through the Mississippi River with Huck and Jim – books can take you anywhere and any place. This is an amazing tool that few entertainment mediums can truly give you and one of the reasons why literature is so beautiful. Whether you’re having a bad day, stressed out with work, dealing with new life decisions – books can help you escape into another world and live somewhere else for a short amount of time. Novels provide knowledge, entertainment, encourage creativity and offer an escape for readers – enriching our lives in more ways than one. It’s definitely much more than words in a book, and even with the increasing popularity of eBooks, Kindles, Wattpad, and online reading they create a conversation, a unique world, and new perspectives.

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