Regardless of whether or not you were forced to read literature during school or you actually enjoyed it and read it in your free time, literature is something to be appreciated. From Waiting for Godot, a french screenplay, to East of Eden by John Steinbeck, a novel that can be deemed inspired by the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, literature is a beautiful form of expression in which authors can speak as themselves or someone else. As an Advanced Placement Literature and Composition student, I have grown to love the interpretation and discussion of literary works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oedipus Rex, and more. It is now apparent to me the beauty in classic literature. In fact, I have grown a distaste towards novels in any other category. In this article, I will be discussing several tools you can utilize to further understand, appreciate, and discuss literature in.
Many of you are aware of sites that save our lives when we procrastinate, like classicnotes and sparknotes, among others. Even though peers and even myself have been guilty of using these sites as ways to get around not reading literature (and still passing the tests and essays regarding them,) they are a great tool to interpret a work that you do not understand, partially or in whole. If anything, you can use these sites to summarize literary works and then, hopefully, appreciate the work enough to sit down and read it.
Another site that can aid in your understanding of literature is Full Stop. Full Stop is a website dedicated to reviews, interviews, and marginalia of literature and literary culture. Their aim is to keep literature alive – considering the claims that the “death of the novel” is upon us. Personally, though technology will grow to be more popular, there will always be a need for literature. There is nothing quite like the flip of the pages – nothing quite like the feel of a tangible book. Full Stop doesn’t stop there! There are several features they offer that may peak your interest, such as a book club, and essays.
There is a psychology to appreciating literature as well. For instructors, teachers, and professors alike – you may not want your students to read literature simply because it is an assignment. To make students really thrive, they must enjoy the subject matter. JSTOR, in it’s Journal of Developmental Reading, Vol. 6, No. 2, of winter 1963, offers age-old methods of getting students to truly understand why they are reading literature. Although it costs nearly twenty dollars to download the journal, you can read it online for free – which is awesome. In the preview that they offer, as viewed here, the author discusses topics such as self-learning, and understanding figurative, literal, and universal languages and interpretations.
Of course, if a student can not grasp the appreciation, learning of literature at a higher level is going to be difficult for them. Ultimately, if you want a better experience with literature, learn to love the mundane.