Why Literature is Important

In class on Thursday, the question was brought up of why reading, and literature is important. Why should we read books when they are movies, and summaries, and Sparknotes? Why should we bother reading anything other than assigned reading?

To me, literature is important because it enriches not only academically, but emotionally.  I never understood true literature versus “fluffy” books like Twilight (no offense to Twilight) until I took my first AP English class in my junior year of high school.  AP English is all about reading texts, analyzing texts, understanding the meaning/significance of the text, and then being able to quickly and adequately communicate these ideas back through essays.  In AP English, I read a multitude of pieces that were not exactly “easy reading.” Honestly, I probably would never have read them if I hadn’t been in the class.  However, because AP English exposed me to literature and novels and stories with more depth, I learned to appreciate the complexity these pieces have to offer and the amount of thought that went into these books.

This year I’m going to try to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November.  It is basically a pledge to write a 50,000 word novel in November.  I think National Novel Writing Month embodies why literature is so important.  Logically, there is no reason why writing a 50,000 word novel in one month should be done.  Most published authors take months, if not years to write and revise a quality piece.  Still, thousands of people sign up and take the pledge because the point is the fact that one is writing and creating.

So why is literature important? In my opinion, literature is important because it expands the mind and introduces people to new concepts and situations that they wouldn’t have thought of before.  It makes people think, “What is the author saying? What is the underlying meaning behind the piece? Why did the author choose this specific word instead of another word?” etc.  Literature spreads new ideas and different perspectives.  Also, literature makes people question life as they know it, which spurs reflection and also change.


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