Literature - A Threshold for Humanity

Few centuries ago, people vividly had two options: involving in adventures and undergoing literature. The love of literature successively brought the people close to humanity and societies who learned to value humans and mark their glorious presence in the beautiful earth within the vast universe. People discovered numerous reasons for writing and reading in which humans always stood as the central figures and substances. Divine power and unidentified mysteries became the matters of curiosity but reading and writing for humans, and identifying their complicacies remained the primary concerns. Along with the writing of fantasy, societal incidents and human realities, people developed literature and it subsequently served for humanity.

Oxford Dictionary defines humanity as ‘the quality of being kind to people and animals by making sure that they do not suffer more than is necessary; the quality of being humane.’ Literature is transparently concerned with two parties: writers and the readers. ‘Why do people write?’ can be an inquisitive interrogation. “Of all forms of art, the question of truth has been raised most often in the context of literature” (Huemer, 233). Humans are the concoctions of multiple feelings and emotions that get revealed according to the situations that strike them, and stimulate them to. Collection and revelation of these various motifs stand as the subjects for literature. And the readers embrace themselves with the characters when they justly match each other in terms of their corresponding stories. Further, in the words of Huemer, “… literature turns into a niche phenomenon” (234) that decides the reasons of reading of human affairs which trains the readers to cultivate merciful minds.
Literature is never composed in the vacuity and it is never away from the human societies. In the due course of time, individuals learn to be critical readers and creative thinkers- great qualities they acquire after being voracious readers. According to Guth, “Literature serves in its most basic function as an extension and enrichment of experience. Other major functions are its capacity both to intensify and to reorder experience” (55). Since experiences and struggles in the life differ among individuals, that normally cannot be generalized but they should be individualized, although they teach and train the people to share the things in some common understanding. Nevertheless, literature not only entertains and involves the readers in their pastimes but also trains them about coping with diverse sense of humanity- one of its major functions. Furthermore, we see many people around the world have been performing the play of their lives playing their respective roles better than the reel actors which can be understood only after reading the literature. We have both sympathy and forgiveness upon them. 

It is a big nightmare to imagine how the world would be without literature where there is no aesthetic sense and artistic merit. It is a written work considered having superior enduring creative power to persuade the humans for humanity. “Literature, therefore, gives its readers an opportunity to travel across the globe to acquire information about other peoples’ culture, infrastructure, health, technology, and climate among others” (Selden, 10).  Besides imparting pleasures, various experiences, information, thoughts and feeling of empathy, it keeps an ability to infer numerous aspects of human societies from politics, language, culture, art, economy, religions, history, and rituals to its reader through poetry, novels stories, biographies, autobiographies, etc. According to Compagnon, “The stories that are captured in literary work are mostly captivating and not only amaze but also give the readers the feel of what the characters in the story are going through” (13). The readers begin to visualize ‘humans’ among the poor, unhappy, aged, beggars, and deserted people in the society after they undergo the literature. Equally, people will understand whether the sword or the pen is mightier. Making oneself stronger avoiding numerous upheavals in the course of life (for these obstacles appear quite common) is very important thing for new changes is another lesson the people achieve. Moreover, the readers will fathom and distinguish the differences of love, lust and infatuation. So, Compagnon further writes, “… literature presents peoples’ perceptions and morals” (13). Therefore, sometimes, it is too challenging to select right books of literature to develop a sense of humanity. And once it is done, we get a good sense of cognitive progress.
Literature is the reflection of society. It reflects life. It plays an extraordinarily imperative role right from the antiquity. In addition to alerting us, it cannot escape any age from human history and the contemporary social affairs, so it reflects the society when it was composed. Humans of the particular time must have faced countless impediments and hard complications which get reflected in the existing composition of the piece of writing. These obstructions obviously are of humans whose ailments must have lasted longer or shorter, but the empathy we feel generated within, provoke the readers to shower upon the characters in the human societies. It is said that readers are sympathetic people who are habituated to see the presence of God in every living being (through the characters of the literary creations), especially in humans. They cannot go blindfolded to these infirmities of the humans. And consequently, literature appeals and wakes up our senses making us all-encompassing which honours the truth through our rightful attainments of the literary objectives.


Compagnon. A. (2014). What is Literature for?: Inaugural Lecture delivered on Thursday 30 November 2006 (pp 13). Collège de France.

Guth, H. P. (1964). , N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Huemer, W. (2007). “Why read literature? The cognitive function of form.” (pp. 233-234). Research Gate.

Selden, R. (2016). Practising theory and reading literature: an introduction. Routledge.

Mr Kandel holds a Master's Degree in English Literature from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, and is currently a faculty member at KIST Secondary School, Kamalpokhari, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Similar Articles

2024 Mar 03

Nepal's Higher Education Reform: Obstacles, Prospects, and Advancement Routes

The educational landscape of Nepal has been greatly impacted by the rising number of Nepali students...

2024 Mar 03

Pursuing a Post-Graduate Education: A Strategic Investment in IT Realm

In the fast-paced and dynamic field of Information Technology (IT), where advancements and breakthro...

Can't find what you are looking for ? Talk to one of our representatives.