Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome to Introduction to Literature!

Since we did not get to discuss the two first-day questions listed on the syllabus, I will ask them here:  What is literature?  Why do we read it?  I look forward to reading your comments!


Anonymous said...

Literature, to me, is a thoughtful look into the nature of the world (or universe... or whatever). Unlike the philosophy that literature seeks to represent a higher form, I beleive that it is showing the form through the author's eyes. The difference between the two is that instead of trying to analyze the literature in order to understand the higher form, it is seen and studied as a look into the author's views.

As to why we read literature, I believe that the most simple reason is that people are curious. By looking at a perfect apple all we know is what we see, hear, taste, and sense. By reading a poem or story of the author's view of the apple we see a possibility for an entirely new take on "apple."

--Heather McNeil

Anonymous said...

I think literature is just another medium for artwork. You take a message, idea, or image and make it into an interesting finished product that others can view. Drawings, TV shows, and video games are also like this. These things only seem meaningless when one doesn't bother to look into their underlying purpose.

We read literature so we can get a message from it, regardless of whether it's the message the author intended or another message the readers interpreted from it. I think the Red wheelbarrow was making fun of an old person. That may not be what the poet meant, but it's still a valid interpretation of it.

Anonymous said...

whoops!!! Forgot my name. Won't happen again.

-Matt Pryor

aoliphant said...

i think literature is also very much for preserving and learning knowledge if you look at coulters were literature was not very common we have very little knowledge about that time and people. plus even in literary art i still seam to learn about many different things through view point or satire.

Moridin said...

Personally, I read only for enjoyment. As a result, I rarely take the "literary value" of a book into account. If a book interests me I'll read it, if not, I won't. For instance, Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is considered by many to be a classic. Unfortunately, it bores me to tears. I couldn't care less about two aristocrats falling in love. I find Rand al'Thor's attempt to piece together a last defence against the Shadow a bit more compelling. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

-Aaron Caudill

Anonymous said...

I sort of touched on this in class, but I believe the purpose of a piece of literature is really up to the author writing it. If the writer is trying to make some deep, philosophical observation, they'll make that point clear enough in their text for their readers to actually get it. (The exception to this was the metaphysical poets who didn't care if the hoi polloi could understand them or not!) The targeted readers will also influence how an author will write- a children's author will, if they so choose, bury their deeper meanings, their "moral of the story" at a more shallow depth than someone interested in influencing how the world is run.

-Aaron Bentley

PS: Elizabeth Bennet wasn't an aristocrat.

sdenaple said...

I feel that literate is all of the things that other people have said thus far, but it is also a means of communication and union among mankind. The author, who is far better suited to describing the human condition, is able to traverse different time periods, cultures, and languages to allow us all to feel a little less alone in this world. While we all have different experiences, good literature is able to touch on human emotion and the other traits that we share. Even if we don't set out to read deep philosophical meaning in a novel, it is this connection that allows us to still take away something deeper than plot.
Shea Denaple