Literary criticism: Culture And Tradition

Last Updated: 30 Dec 2020
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Literature represents a language or a people: culture and tradition. But, literature is more important than just a historical or cultural writing. Literature introduces us to new worlds of experience. We learn from books and literature; we enjoy the triumphs and the tragedies of poems, stories, and plays; and we may even grow through our literary journey with books. In conclusion, we may discover meaning in literature by looking at what the author says and how he/she says it. We may interpret the author's message. However we interpret literature, there is still an artistic quality to the works.

Literature is important to us because it speaks to us, it is both universal and individual, and in many ways it affects us, for the better. When some people think of the word “Literature” they think of books like, Walden, Old man and the Sea, Tom Sawyer, Great Expectations, or Moby Dick. These are what some call “the classics. ” While these few books are indeed literature do we subconsciously judge other books based on the styling’s of these few? People believe that the true meaning of “Literature,” is a literary work in which the readers mind is opened to new concepts and ideals.

For a writing to be called “Literature” it doesn’t have to be considered a “Classic” nor does it need to follow the same construct as these so called “Classics”. The book, 11/23/63, is much more of a form of “Literature” than A Tale of Two Cities. Based solely on the fact that in the Stephen King novel, he places the thought of, “What if? ” into your mind.. Whereas, “A Tale of Two Cities”, depicts the plight of the French peasantry in the years leading up to the revolution, as opposed to opening your mind. While A Tale of Two Cities, shows you what life was like in those times.

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Stephen King shows you an alternate universe in which there was but one change, and how that one change affects how history takes its course. When the author helps your mind, explore worlds of endless possibility, or sheds light on a new way to perceive things. That is when the author has created a “True” work of literary merit. The thing about the term, “Literature”, is that it doesn’t have just one meaning. Literature is comprised of many things, but while Webster definition of “Literature” is, “the production of literary work especially as an occupation.

” The “True” meaning is open to interpretation, meaning that one person’s definition of the word may be completely different than another person’s definition. This is both the great and horrid thing about the term. When scholars classify writing as literature, they often consider it a book or writing that has stood the test of time and despite its age it has surpassed many other great works through history by receiving merit from the scholars, based on their description of the word, influential.

You may agree that it should be considered a piece of “Literature”, if it has done this, and you would be right, but what if it was a great piece of literary art that didn’t become a best seller? And thus was cast into the abyss to be forgotten until stumbled across one day by a mind ready to take in what the author wanted to say. Would you consider it “Literature? ” Or would you just leave it in the abyss because it never became a best seller? Take Moby Dick for example, it is considered to be one of the Great American Novels and a treasure of world literature. However, it never received enough credit to title it a “Best seller.

” One literary work, also helps define my idea of the word Literature, is The Hobbit by J. R. R Tolkien. The reason I consider this a piece of “Literature” is because of the amount of imagery Tolkien uses to bring his world to life in the imagination of the reader. In this excerpt from that book, he describes every thought of the characters and his use of imagery helps create the scene in the mind of the reader. “The dark came into the room from the little window that opened in the side of The Hill; the firelight flickered-it was April-and still they played on, while the shadow of Gandalf’s beard wagged against the wall.

The dark filled all the room, and the fire died down, and the shadows were lost, and still they played on. And suddenly first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes; and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music. ” (The Hobbit, Page 15) Tolkien’s powerful use of imagery in that passage painted a clear picture of what happens while the dwarves sing. However, Splatterpunk also uses powerful imagery to paint pictures.

The key difference between the imagery used Splatterpunk and the imagery used in The Hobbit, is how the imagery is used. In the novel, The Cipher, which combined intensely poetic language and lavish grotesqueries, the author, uses imagery to place the pictures into the mind of the reader using powerful and descriptive words. As opposed to Tolkien, who draws upon the reader’s imagination with basic descriptions to help create a sketch in his mind. Now, many would not consider this a form of “Literature” due to the lack of personal connection between the story and the reader.

However, I consider this book, and even this passage alone, to be a form of “Literature” solely because it opens my mind to a new world full of adventure and intrigue, while keeping the reader glued to the book during the time he reads. Imagery is a powerful tool for both the author and the reader, for if the author isn’t clear with his use of imagery it breaks the reader’s attention and allows him to be lost within the story, and not in a good way. Tolkien also uses diction to place an image into the readers mind, and he does this in such a way the reader begins to sing the song in his own head.

Far over the misty mountains cold To dungeons deep and caverns old We must away, ere break of day, To claim our long-forgotten gold. Goblets they carved there for themselves And harps of gold; where no man delves There lay they long, and many a song Was sung unheard by men or elves. The pines were roaring on the height, The winds were moaning in the night. The fire was red, it flaming spread; The trees like torches blazed with light (The Hobbit, Page 16) Literature is important to us because it speaks to us, it is both universal and individual, and in many ways it affects us, for the better.

In ways we sometimes may never understand. Ultimately, we may discover meaning in literature by looking at what the author says and how he/she says it. We may interpret the author's message in one way, while someone else finds the message a different way. In this way we see how the definition of “Literature,” is subjective to both the readers own interpretation, and the overall meaning of the work. Because even when it is ugly, literature is beautiful.

Sources Cited

  1. Tolkien, John R. R. The Hobbit. N. p. : George Allen & Unwin, 1937. 15. Web.

Cite this Page

Literary criticism: Culture And Tradition. (2016, Sep 03). Retrieved from

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