It is an academic writing that is read in a very different way then literature. To me literature is almost a type of genre the way it read differently then academic writings. It comes with a connotation of being more entertaining then academic writings, whether that is true or not depends on the piece itself. For example, “The Allegory of the Cave” written by Plato is a work of literature but to me it is far more boring then some works of pure academic intent. Going back to the definition of literature, I do not think it is necessary for a work of literature to be published in order to become literature.
If someone writes a short story in their notebook and never formally submits it to a publishing company that is still literature. It is still a written story made for the intent of enjoyment. To help define what literature is, it may be helpful to define what it isn’t. Literature isn’t Just anything written down. A second definition of literature according to dictionary. Com is, “any kind of printed material, as circulars, leaflets, or handbills. That is not what literature is in my opinion. That definition would include all advertisements, newspapers, magazines, interviews, and so on.
If literature was all things written, then literature would lose its meaning. Literature must artistic. It has to be written with the meaning of knowledge or entertainment or both. Why do we study literature is another question all together. Literature helps people experience things they would otherwise never be able to experience. Lima Flattery’s “The Sniper” is a great example of this. When Flattery is explaining the cane where the sniper is on the room lighting a cigarette and a bullet whizzes past his head is a great scene that helps explain what it would be like to be in that position (Flattery page 474).
Most people have never been in a war, even fewer in a sniper fire fight, and therefore most people will never know what it is like for those few that have been in that position. But by reading this story, people can almost visualize what it must have been like. The adrenaline pumping through their veins and the terror as a bullet almost hits you seems like an almost impossible thing to understand if you weren’t actually there, but Flattery uses literature to help explain what it was like.
Literature can also help explain what it was like to live in a totally different environment. In “Warring Memories” by Kind Taipei, she does Just that by show us what her husbands like was like in the Middle East. She explains how he would watch CNN and comment on how men should take their rings off or their bodies will be looted and mutilated once they are dead (Taipei page 510). This again is a life completely different then life in America and by reading about it, it helps bread awareness of what other people’s lives are like. History is another reason to study literature.
Many pieces of literature do a great Job of explaining history without boring the reader with nothing but facts like a history textbook. “Like a Winding Sheet” by Anne Poetry does a very good Job of doing Just that. It isn’t nearly as boring as reading a civil rights textbook but does a great Job of showing how hard life could be for an African- American in the sass’s. She showed how you could have to work extremely long hours of manual labor without breaks Just to be degraded by your joss when she uses the “N” word to describe you (Poetry page 499).