Monday, January 30th, 2023 19:41:42

What’s it like to study English Literature? Why should one consider the field of literature itself?

By Vishwarupa Rath
Updated: January 3, 2023 8:12 am

Before having literature as my core subject, I’ve been an avid reader for a long time. But it has been strikingly interesting for me how my perspective of literature changed since the day I started studying English honors.

Earlier I would think that reading is merely an escape from life and the real world. Reading still might be partly that but Literature becomes a wider arena. If reading is a plant nursery, literature is a forest. The texts of literature do not make us divert from reality but in fact if there’s any subject at all which can keep a person constantly in touch with reality, it is literature. Little did I know before taking this subject that whenever I’ll pick up a reading material I won’t only read what is there in front of me but I’ll be studying the very core of the text. When did the author write this,what place was it based on, what was the socio- political condition there, what was the author’s mindset back then and how is it all relevant to the timeline- everything plays a role in understanding a text . Earlier I was this person who wouldn’t like analyzing too much or even criticizing much of art and literature because for me back then, it was something you enjoy and appreciate . Analyzing too much would’ve meant digging deeper and at that time I was afraid of not feeling the beauty of a thing completely if I dig too much into it. But being a literature student we just cannot keep steady in everyday life too, without knowing all about each word, background and context of any text that comes in front of us. When we’re studying  the Author’s reality, we are somehow bound to reflect upon our own reality time and again, and that is the harshest part of being a literati.

We do not realize there are so many things we tend to subconsciously avoid in everyday life and they’re mostly the things that really matter. But studying so deeply about different matters of concern, we can’t help but relate with the present time. Literature is very well the soft wool that weaves the past with present and future, in a continuous intangible connection.

If you’re to be a literature student, you should expect it that in every lecture you’ll be very causally discussing life, death and every complicacies that lie in between these two. You’ll be expected to ponder upon deepest of matters and then write an apt critical apprehension about them. You’re expected to be the lotus leaf which stays surrounded by water all the time but still doesn’t get wet. The depth of some literary pieces can be very disturbing and triggering at times but no one warns you beforehand. But if it gives critical problems, it also is the very source of solutions. You would not find yourself bereft of answers ever. Sometimes you’ll get the answers from the text itself and sometimes you’ll get them from your own life.

For those who are intrigued by various branches of social science, English literature would be a course they’ll surely enjoy. There’s history,political science, sociology, lots and lots of psychology, economics, all embedded in different kinds of writing which are amusing to the soul. If books of literature could actually speak a little about themselves, I fancy them speaking so :

” I don’t force you to read me, I don’t scream my knowledge at you. I give you time to come to me whenever you’re really ready.

I am an open book, yes. But my words and their intended meanings are not a secret only when your mind is calm enough to grasp my virtuosity.  I’m that friend who cannot lie to you, so you’ll often have to face the bitterness of truth as I reflect reality to you.

I’m the warm potion that’s ready to be consumed and make you feel wonders you never knew existed. ”

Literature encourages you to think more and feel more. It helps you acknowledge your feelings better and thus also helps you empathize with others’ feelings and their perspectives. Reading the confessional writings of great writers gives you the kind of strength you never knew you had been seeking. It gives you courage to express yourself more clearly.

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Studying a variety of writings and their different critics, it enables us to see the world in a multidimensional view. Once you’re able to see that kind of view, you’d always be hungry to know more about everything. Literature doesn’t only amplify our emotional strength but also constantly makes us more rational and practical. Of course when one sees various sides of a story, one cannot escape the fact that there is no strict right and wrong, no pure Good and Bad, but everything is more or less of a Yin- Yang. Reading and enjoying literary pieces let us enjoy the sublimity of creativity and of existence.  If you’ve the quest for learning more about the world and more about yourself, Literature is the field you need to set foot in.


By Vishwarupa Rath

Comments are closed here.