Society Through Literature

Classical Literature Author Locations Here is an interactive map of all the different locations these amazing creative authors lived, along with their birth and death year.

Literature is the building block for a well educated, knowledgable human being. Society is evolving everyday, changing and shifting in different ways. The way a classroom is run in todays educational world is completely different then it was ran years before. Careers, lifestyles, houses, environments, and so on all have been changing throughout the years. Today, when boredom strikes people tend to go shopping at the mall or play games on their Xbox’s. In the earlier years, people would sit down with a book and let themselves get completely wrapped up in the storyline for hours. Their understanding of the world and all the different cultures grows with every word they take in.

There are numerous different genres that literature stretches across, British literature, Old English literature, Ancient roman literature, and so on. There are so many different aspects of literature that a person learns when they read a book written by someone from a different location. Living in the U.S. I am lucky enough to have the ability to read books from all over the world. Some of my favorites where written in Afghanistan and England. Language written in different settings and in different styles helps to increase your knowledge about the world.

Christopher Siders a writer for JCU Alumni Magazine, wrote an article called Literature Still Matters. He had wrote about his thoughts on literature and how it connects people to each other and to society. “If we didn’t study written works from the past and only looked at modern day communication, how would a person understand the evolution of anything? Understanding how various aspects of society developed, or what mistakes were made, prevents people from repeating these mistakes,” said Siders.

His article is based upon different aspects of society that were established due to literature teachings. He wants people to understand that knowledge and identity is based upon different aspects of literature throughout the generations.

Some of the biggest classical literature stories were written in England during a time when technology and the internet where far from being reachable. Shakespeare was a world famous playwright who was born in 1564. He wrote plays about so many different aspects of life that transformed society. Throughout his plays he used Old English literature which is completely different from todays form of writing. It is harder to decipher and can be confusing with all the different metaphors placed within. These aspects though make your brain breakdown the language in order to understand what is being said and when the breakdown happens you see an extremely creative, and emotional storyline. Michelle Boston, a writer for USC News, wrote an article called Six reasons Shakespeare remains relevant 400 years after his death. 

She said, “Shakespeare’s influence on the English language runs deep. For instance, if you search the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) — the definitive record of the English language — Shakespeare is often identified as the sole user or first user of a word or phrase, according to Charlotte Brewer who authored the guide’s chapter on “Shakespeare and the OED.”

Every aspect of literature and societal norms where based off of an older generation. Romeo and Juliet was a play written about to “star crossed lovers” who wanted desperately to be together but their families had forbid it. They went against their parents will and tried to escape the societal aspects that were keeping them apart. However, their love ended in tragedy with the death of both of them.

“Shakespeare’s works are emotional, hilarious, pithy. But above all, he was masterful at imbuing his stories and his characters with qualities that audiences and readers identify with — Hamlet’s anguish, Ophelia’s distress, the enduring love between Romeo and Juliet”, said Boston.

The idea of a love so strong that they would do anything to achieve it was a basis for so many different aspects that are involved within society today. Language and metaphors are used and transformed within todays society.

Along with Shakespeare’s time period, a little bit further into the future came an author who dedicated her time to writing hidden love stories that she wouldn’t publish because she was a women in a mans world. Jane Austen was born in 1775, a time period when women were first starting to branch out of their shells and be more involved in society.

Jane Austen’s written works have evolved along with society. Her works showed romances, feminism, and other cultural aspects that have altered throughout time. Jane Austen was a feminist that expressed her strong opinions through her stories that were based upon a strong female protagonist.

Hannah Kingsley, a writer for digitalausten.org, wrote an article called, What makes Jane Austen relevant to modern society. She said, “The narratives of both Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are comprised of three basic plot points that have been prominent parts of life prior to, during, and after Austen’s time for a variety of age groups. These points include money and class based situations, internal family conflict, and the struggle revolving around romantic relationships – or the lack thereof.”

Kingsley expresses how Jane Austen pin points her novels all upon aspects of life that relate to numerous different generations. In todays society there are still aspects that will always remain. Throughout history these aspects of life have and will always remain prominent. Society as a whole revolve around family, money, and social class. These aspects were prominent in older generations and in modern generations. That is why Jane Austen’s novels have remained important aspects of society. She bases her strong female characters around a problem associated with money, class status, or family. She incorporates aspects of life that will always remain important and emotionally connected.

“As society has evolved and culture shifted, these adaptions and variants have allowed for Austen’s content that was associated with the time period to change in correlation to the modern time” said Kingsley.

The writings of Jane Austen have the ability to enhance society through her language. She writes in a form that is older English literature but also tends to show that she has modernized in a way that people can understand. Her writings are definitely more capable of being read by people of future generations. She writes about stories that show her society during her time period but also add aspects that haven’t ever been heard of yet during her time. She talks of marriage from a women point of view in Emma, her main character is a women who has no interest in marriage or of finding someone she wants to love. Yet she devotes her time at finding loved ones for her friends. She wants people around her to find the right fit for them but will not accept anyone for herself which is an ideal that was unheard of during her time.

Literature throughout time has changed the way people have looked at knowledge. Im order to understand other generations, countries, and languages, reading is essential. The only way to become more knowledgable about society as a hole is to read literature that has varying genres. Literature is essential to true knowledge and true emotional connections between people.

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