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Why You Should Study English Literature

Chandni Asnani | August 26th, 2019 . 5:50 pm

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She’d become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read.
-Jeffrey Eugenides

A few years back, when a student reached high school, he didn’t want to study English. This subject was considered unimportant. Everyone either wanted to pursue Engineering, Medical, or Management. If one was really into English and wanted to pursue it as a career, it was considered a waste of his talent. Arts as a field was not given much respect and importance in society back then.

But today, the tables have turned! All the mainstream fields like Engineering and Medical have become so typical now, that the time has come for unusual fields like Literature to take the stage! So, all those who believe that one should opt for Mathematics to improve his Logical and Reasoning skills, let me tell you one interesting fact. Did you know that studying Literature is as good as Maths or even better? It enhances one’s analytical skills, logical thinking, emotional skills, creativity, concentration and a lot more! Read on further and you will know-how.

Here are a few solid reasons why you should opt for English Literature as your field of study!

A Glance into History

It is rightly said that ‘Literature is the mirror of society‘. One can figure out the condition of an entire era if he reads the literature of those times. Literature and History are interlinked. It is literature that has carefully preserved our history in the form of written texts and scriptures. Literature is the testimony of our glorious past! It narrates to us, the virtues of our great Kings and the vices of our society. It makes us appreciate our rich past and also makes us realize how far we have truly come.

Appreciation of Art

Studying Literature makes you respect and admire Art in every way. Art is the expression of the soul, and while we study Literature, we get to connect to it miraculously. If we talk about the subject ‘Drama’, it comprises of lots of scenes, settings, characters, dialogues, entertainment, music, etc. Some of the most quoted dialogues that we hear today are from the greatest plays of all times! For example, I hope everyone must have heard this quote from the play ‘Hamlet’ by Shakespeare-‘To be, or not to be, that is the question.’

Plays truly have a deep impact on our psyche. The depth and essence of the dialogues spoken by the characters stay with us forever. It makes Literature seem more real and tangible. In other words, through Literature, we gain undying respect for Art.

Empathy and Understanding

The study of literature makes us more human. It helps us relate to people’s emotions and empathize with them. When we study ‘Fiction‘, a subject under English Literature, we are transported to the protagonist’s world. We find ourselves in the character’s shoes, looking at life through his eyes. That is the real essence of Fiction. It promotes an understanding of different cultures, human behaviors, emotions, and perspectives. Studying Fiction also amplifies our focus and lets us find inner peace and happiness.

Communication Skills

Yes, Literature essentially improves our written as well as verbal communication skills. There is a subject called ‘Linguistics‘ in English Masters which hones our practical and intellectual skills. We get in-depth knowledge about languages- how are words formed, how do we pronounce different words, how do we structure sentences and a lot more! Once we are equipped in Linguistics, we can perfectly write elegant letters or deliver eloquent speeches with ease. Literature boosts our self-confidence too.

A Better Reader

Studying Literature makes us fall in love with books. It makes us a better reader and a better writer. It makes a whole library of classic works from every genre, be it poetry, drama, fiction or prose accessible to us. Literature inspires us to dive deep into its ocean and grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Reading also makes us more focused and alert.

Vocabulary

When we are exposed to tones of classic Literature books like Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, Charles Dickens’ books, Spenser’s works, we don’t even need to put effort into improving our vocabulary. As we go on reading, we learn new words, new ways of using the same words, new phrases, slang words of different ages, etc. Sometimes we even come across some really old words that have made their journey from those times till the present! It’s fascinating.

Creativity and Logical Thinking

The study of Literature for sure lights up a spark of creativity within us. If we talk in terms of the subject ‘Poetry‘ taught in English Literature, the student learns to understand different rhyme schemes, stress patterns, rhythms and writing styles in a poem. We can admire the beauty of it all, and are even tempted to write a poem by ourselves at times!

Literary devices like Metaphors help us creatively relate to different objects. Poetry opens up a new world for us, where we are free to interpret a poem in any way we like and find hidden meanings behind rhymes. This enhances logical reasoning.

Analytical Skills and Observation

Literature makes us more observant and sharp. When we study the subject ‘Literary Criticism‘, we need to understand and analyze work on given specific aspects. This helps us focus on various perspectives and inspires an analytical approach. It invokes the hidden researcher within us and helps us discover what the normal reader does not even notice.

Thus, English Literature is such a vast and fascinating field of study. It opens up new worlds of imagination, creativity and learning for its pursuers. It bestows us with new ideas, perspectives and a better understanding of people and their cultures. The study of English Literature enables us to realize the greatness of this world, read the greatest classics and enhance our knowledge through various subjects like Poetry, Plays, Fiction, Prose, Criticism, Linguistics, etc. You should undoubtedly go for it.

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