Being a literature student, I am accustomed to hearing a plethora of queer questions that people throw at me regarding my career and future goals. The absurd interrogation that I encounter makes me wonder why do people have a distorted reality ingrained in their heads with respect to an English major without even actually contemplating the power of literature.
Regardless of how much the world has evolved, there are people who still view literature as a spare, futile subject to study wherein a person eventuates into dead end jobs. A literature student is deemed as someone who is fond of fabricating stories with an apathetic approach, when it is much more than that. There is more than what meets the eye and some people merely see the tip of the iceberg, failing to assess the opportunities that literature actually offers.
What do we actually mean when we talk about literature? To comprehend life, one needs to decipher its actual meaning bit by bit. An imperative way to do so is through reading. We all are rather clueless and confined in our own heads, desperately trying to find a purpose. We dabble with a ton of things and end up perplexed. Reading is the best way to shun this skepticism. It readily ameliorates our personality and influences our manners. A book is emphatically a perfect refuge to rejuvenate our soul which helps us in surpassing our own selves.
Literature is intricately intertwined with history. Hence, it plays an indispensable role in reflecting the reality of the primitive and contemporary world. No mater how hard we try to segregate literature from history, we cannot. History is not merely a gateway to the past, but also is indicative of our present which allows us to envision our future. Literature keeps on evolving with time, kindling new idea for the future generations to come.
It takes a strong imagination to explore the endless prospects of life and pen it down with the hope of transforming those ideas into actuality. An author frames an idea based on their imagination in the form of a novel. An astounding work is mighty enough to induce a strong sense of insurrection, capable of commencing a wave of revolution. After all, what is now proved was once only imagined and that is where the actual power of literature lies. Without literature, revolutions would not have happened. Every revolution was once just a vague idea which was made feasible through critical reasoning and expression of dissent and defiance.
In this seemingly hopeless society, literature acts as a catalyst, playing a humongous role in reconstructing the society. Life is mainly manifested in the form of literature and reading leads to introspection. It edifies us in different ways, making it permissible to see through the lens of a writer, giving us a second hand experience of the events in the novel. We learn and unlearn a gazillion of things through the fictitious characters which in turn enhances our empathising skills. Even after having nothing in common with the characters, we still strive to relate to their plight. Consequently, a credible literary work acts a strong stimulus that bursts the bubble of ignorance and brings us into a state of staggering reality. Writers simply replicate their thoughts while putting pen to paper which depicts the necessity of thinking thoroughly and boundlessly. The level of retaining knowledge is directly proportional to our inquisitiveness. A good novel impels us to think outside the box by sowing a seed of critical riticism. We make sense of everything around us through words, for words are powerful enough to stir up our sentiments.
Reading is more like an exercise which mobilises our brain and ignites our imagination and helps us in expanding our horizon of knowledge. Writers from different walks of life, hailing from contrasting backdrops with dissimilar experiences are capable of contriving novels that connects people on a common ground. What was once written stays, albeit the writer dies. However, living in an age of digital distractions and tech-driven world, we often fail to fathom the eminence of literature. Perpetual use of gadgets shift our attention from books to smartphones which in itself is detrimental, in the wake of which our attention span is dwindling drastically. Through books we are exposed to new information that helps us in rectifying our skewed beliefs which in turn polishes our perception. Therefore, it is on us to maintain a balance between the virtual and actual life.
Ilma Mujeeb is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Nuzhat Khan
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.