WHAT IS THE MEANING, SIGNIFICANCE AND THE POWER OF LITERATURE?
A great writer SHOWS the world and people in a deeper way.
Normally, most people in the world at large, given the limitations imposed by societal pressures, do not have the inner resources to observe life and the world, on a deeper, clearer and more meaningful level.
By default, people live out their psychologies with a complicated and unresolved mixture of whatever they were influenced by and absorbed.
They miss out on a life that can be and ought to be, the kind that is lived with a great clarity, joy, meaning and power.
Here comes the power of a great writer in any era. He shows stories with a greater level of observation and that is why, usually, they do reach a good audience too and in the syllabi of educational programs.
They REACH the people and take them on a higher level. This has been, in fact, the way by which mankind slowly has developed till now and would develop in the future too!!
The observations that a great writer makes are of the characters’ psychologies and the social, political, and cultural realities he is living in.
He also gives the philosophical truth about life as such. A LOT is conveyed with a story and that is why it is so deeply entertaining, if studied with focus and care.
In our selections, as examples, William Blake’s “Tyger” takes the reader to really wonder about existence, life, reality and other worlds AS SUCH.
“Twelfth Night” by Shakespeare gives that joy of living lightly, and also shows that one person is not different from another. We usually differentiate people based on some narrow divisions of class, gender, position etc. Shakespeare shows directly and powerfully that these do not count, as each person is a real human being and not a stereotype.
Reading “Gulliver’s Travels” really makes this silly world small and makes the so called “big bad world” almost look harmless by its sheer triviality and smallness. The reader himself becomes a giant like the hero. The reader realizes more consciously that one need not be so stupid and, by that very realization, rises to the level of Swift!!
With Jane Austen’s, “Pride and Prejudice”, the reader is made more aware of how we all create barriers between us in love, and much more.
With “The Importance of Being Earnest”, the reader becomes very intelligently satirical, and really sees the world with great cutting and laughing criticism, while retaining his lightheartedness!!
All this and MUCH MORE is experienced with great stories of great writers simply because the great writer writes with greater depth of observation. People normally do not observe so much, since they live out their lives mechanically, as we said earlier.
A writer is both influenced and influences the world and the reader is made aware of both.
We should keep in mind that a great writer is not a superman or God. He too is a normal human being, living in a culture and usually having absorbed the limitations of that culture and also the positive points in that culture.
But, at the same time, a great writer is superior in his observations and very powerful too!! He is able to, to a good extent, transcends his culture, thinks on his own and showcases a great originality, meaning and universality in his works.
Now, when a reader reads a great writer, he takes in both, and both these aspects are useful, in a deep way, for him.
He learns directly about cultures and that is great knowledge of History learnt in a direct way, as if he is going back in time. Also, he sees how that writer had risen above his culture and commented on it through a story.
He learns both and benefits in a great many ways. He realizes that a person need not be limited by his culture and he sees the impact the writer made in the world,
ALL this comes as a great experience!!
A great writer also reflects on the culture and in his own unique way, brings out both the good points and the negative points in terms of philosophical truth.
As has been already stated, a writer is critical of the world, with his greater ethical outlook and sense of truth and powers of observation.
This helps the reader to be critical himself and develops the reader’s powers of observation and judging immensely.
A great writer is both an artist and a philosopher and he is as much a human being as anyone, but with great insight, both as an artist and as a philosopher.
We must remember that a great writer is both telling the truth and living the truth. So, obviously he will have many different shades, aspects, conflicts too within him and all this gets seen. This is not a negative point. By thus giving the gift of showing his naked soul, the reader sees his own soul, both, those aspects which match his own soul and even those that do not.
He is made AWARE!! And. any psychologist will tell you, self- awareness is everything!!
A great writer indirectly shows and makes known, with stark reality both what makes a human being and what limits the human being.
Because the great writer is so vulnerable and revealing about his own real self, the reader is able to see fully and clearly, what gives strength and solidity to a human being and what is limiting him. He is able to reach great perfection, happiness, stability, self confidence and natural self reverence in his own life.
Reading of many great writers makes the world known, as a whole - the past and hence the present and also the future, in a prophetic way.
Because a reader usually reads many great writers, the great value given by each great writer, is multiplied hundred fold with hundred books!!
Life becomes too clear to such a reader and he becomes, almost without knowing and just by reading, very comfortable on a very high level of energy, joy and clarity.
Great writers teach, not by lectures but in an incredible way- by stories, poems and essays that are concrete experiences!! Just imagine the gift you get from a great writer. You do not have to do anything, only read and enjoy and experience a story. You get so much KNOWLEDGE, POWER, MEANING, JOY AND STABILITY THAT COMES FROM KNOWING LIFE FULLY!!
A great writer gifts the power of great living to the reader!!
The reader experiences the world in stark strokes – the whole social, political and psychological worlds.
Reading many authors, he stands on a mountain top and sweeps the whole world with a single glance!!
The avid reader is finally able to work out in his daily living, with great love and fire, his own first hand outlook on life, and that enables him to live a life of beauty and grandeur as a philosopher himself!
All this and much more would come to the reader, by reading great writers. That is the reason why we have written this book and why we want to introduce, in a very deep way, hundreds of great works by great writers.
The reader will have a deeper appreciation of all the above points after he has been introduced to the six great works and writers in this volume – 1
Then, he can make a plan of reading the 6 works with perfection and surely take his life to a higher level of confidence, perfection, happiness and energy!!