Let us consider the two texts listed below
1. An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen (1882)
2. The English Teacher by R. K. Narayan (1945)
These two books, one a play and the other a novel although written at different times and come from different cultures, have common themes:-
1. Individuals against authority / against more powerful forces
2. Individuals who stand up for the good of the community
3. Questions of moral responsibility
4. Family values, ordinary lives upset by crisis, and wrestle with decisions of conscience and moral responsibility.
These themes are universal, which means that a reader, whatever his or her background, can relate to the issues, to the themes, to the stories, to the characters and their struggles.
Why Literature? Why do we read them?
• Story-telling was always a way of teaching. For instance all major religions have used stories/myths to teach about their religions and values. A good example of this is the Bible
• Historically oral story-telling was a way of passing down family myths, religious myths, cultural myths from generation to generation
• Stories offer us a world beyond our own experiences – a world without borders – different place, different times, different cultures –
• It gives us insight into other peoples and lives – their emotions, their hopes, their anxieties – they feel much like we do – learn that values are universal—we can relate to their fears, anxieties, hopes etc.
• These experiences educate us and makes us more human. For instance the reader of the The English Teacher cannot but identify and sympathise with the husband when he is almost destroyed by his wife Susila’s death .
• Other themes that we in Singapore can relate to and are dealt in these stories are the marriage debate ( Susila’s views ) the Casino debate ( Tom and Peter Stockman) the Language debate ( Krishnan’s views on the English language and western culture) Father’s obligation and responsibilities etc. how to keep a budget.
Literature teaches us that the everyday lives of people everywhere are the same – they are quiet and simple, organized around the experience of love, families, making choices, coming to terms with disappointments, loss, death. But within those limitations people live full and balanced lives.
Good Literature brings these to life like no other forms of writing can.
Try writing an objective piece of writing – a report, an argumentative essay and then try a story. See which comes alive.
1. It IMPROVES our LANGUAGE AND WRITING SKILLS
2.DEVELOPS POWER OF IMAGINATION
3.CULTIVATES CREATIVE THINKING
4.Develops CRITICAL thinking skills
5.DEVELOPS ANALYTICAL SKILLS
IT IS FUN. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MUG
"NOTHING WAS EVER TAUGHT EXCEPT THROUGH PLEASURE’ "