Literature Essay Sample
In trying to understand the idea being conveyed by Algren, one has to put themselves I his shoes, at the particular time and place. He had seen a lot of injustice throughout his years and it always seemed to get worse for the weak and poor group of the society. The statement means that literature is an extension of our conscience. Without being in touch with our consciousness then there is no way that we can be able to make literature in that sense. We have to be humane in order to be able to express ourselves which is a prerequisite in coming up with literature; stones cannot come up with literature.
Second, for literature to be “made” there should be an occasion that is to be subjected to the test by our conscience. In observing different situations, when we are in touch with our conscience, we can be able to judge whether a specific occasion is worth of recognition. From this occasion, that has drawn our attention or interest; we can be able to come up with literature. In simple terms, literature captures moments in our lives that bear some meaning or importance. Literature captures our life stories vividly without leaving out items that bear importance or meaning to us.
What does it entail?
According to Algren, literature entails subjecting our lives to various tests of life. Trying or even happy moments usually test human beings on various levels and the harder the test, the more significant the occasion is. Such an occasion can be termed as literature. Literature can only be born out of situations and occasions that quite significant in our lives, otherwise it would not be literature.
Different situations give rise to the different criteria in literature. Since no two situations are the same in the way that they affect as us or the emotions that they invoke in us, then it is with the same literature. Therefore, we are expected to be alert at all times in order to be able to capture the different moments to build on what we already have. The idea that literature can only live on through us thus comes to fore in this case.
What kind of a statement is this?
The statement is a definition. A definition, according to the dictionary, is a passage that explains the meaning of a word or phrase in detail. It can as well interpret the meaning behind a word or phrase. In the statement, Algren tries to make us understand the meaning of literature. He also tries to explain in a few words how it comes about. A close analysis of the statement helps to bring forward the intended meaning of the word literature.
The statement for starters consists of a passage that elaborates further on the meaning of the word literature. For it to qualify as a definition, it also has to provide an interpretation of the word literature. This has been done by taking of the occasion in the statement. In taking of an occasion being put to test by our conscience when it is in touch with humanity, he further tries to give his interpretation of literature.
Is it true?
The statement to some extent is true. First, literature is supposed to depict man as the central figure in its development. Man should be part and parcel of the whole experience to make literature. This has been done by the statement where Algren states that the occasion has to be tested when the conscience is in touch with humanity. Human beings are the main architects as well as actors in literature.
Second, for literature to be “made” reasoning should be part of the process. The mind or brain should be put to task in order to come up with fair judgments of the occasion or situation from the onset to the very end. In the statement, Algren uses the term “conscience” to refer to this reasoning process that one may be engaged in I order to come up with literature.
Third, literature involves decision-making. In subjecting our lives to various tests, we are able to come up with various forms and degrees of literature. Literature should be lived in order to bear meaning to us or even other people. Algren has achieved this goal by incorporating the “…challenge is put to the legal apparatus by a conscience…” statement in his definition of literature.
Can we test its truth?
The truth to this statement can be tested using the various tools of evaluation of a piece of literature. To begin with, Algren states that for literature to exist there has to be an occasion from which value judgments can be made. Under normal circumstances, literature born out of life experiences subjects one to such situations as danger that invoke various feelings out of them. It is from this experiences and occasions that these individuals create or make pieces of literature.
Second, literature requires one not to be detached from themselves or others. Algren states that for value judgments to be made, conscience should be in touch with humanity. Literature invokes emotions and feelings when perceived or studied and as such requires emotions and feelings when being conceptualized. Some aspect of humanity helps us to understand different situations differently and make worthwhile decisions if and how to use these situations to come up with literature.
Finally, literature requires decision making i.e. value judgment is part and parcel of literature. Algren states, “Literature is made upon any occasion that a challenge is put to the legal apparatus…” thus being in agreement with this requirement of literature.
How can we justify Algren’s claim?
We can justify Algren’s claim by taking a keen look at the various forms of literature that we have and how they came about. Most of the pieces of literature in existence were born out of real life experiences. Literature should be able to invoke emotions and if we cannot come up with literature from what we feel then this goal cannot be achieved.
Even when we are talking about fictional pieces of literature, the author or creator has to be in a state he or she understands the emotions that are involved in order to come up with such works. Detaching ourselves from the experiences that we may face every day cannot be good at all for the future of literature.
What kind of evidence might suffice?
In studying this statement, it is quite evident literature is part of life and as such cannot be created when the conscience is not in touch with humanity. We are the central figures in literature while at the same time being the architects behind these pieces of work. As long as man exists, then literature will exist and vice versa.
Can literature be “made” differently?
I do not believe that literature can be made in a different way despite what many other writers may think. I have to completely agree with Algren on this statement. Literature has for years been made to express our feelings and emotions and as such, we have to always be in touch with our humanity and conscience to achieve this goal. Value judgments can only be made when the above two factors are in sync.
In attempting to make literature in any other way without including any of the four factors; occasion, judgment, conscience and humanity is tantamount to writing the history of the World.
What does or would it look without a conscience, or out of touch with humanity?
Without a conscience or out of touch with humanity, literature looks a bleak image of itself. Literature discusses our lives with emotion to a degree, which we can all relate with. It is for this reason that majority of us getting emotional when reading, watching or listening to pieces of literature. Without these emotions, most people will soon lose interest and literature will die a slow agonizing death.