What’s Literature Good For?

Sometimes people ask, “What’s the value of literature—of reading poems, stories, and plays? In other words, why might one go to literature for sustenance or reflection, as opposed to something else?”

One of the reasons a person might “go to literature” is akin to why a person might travel: defamiliarization. Just as travel is charged with fresh paths and sensations, so literature is charged with unfamiliar plots and charged language. When we go to literature, we are being provoked, via authorial path-plottings and charged language, to see and think differently from our usual grooves of sight and thought.

Defamiliarization and charged language: these are two of the things we go to literature for.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to What’s Literature Good For?

  1. Pingback: Qual é o valor da leitura literária? « Peregrinacultural's Weblog

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