'Why Literature?' By Mario Vargas Llosa Essay

Great Essays
People often wonder what the most powerful force in the universe is. Is it some otherworldly power that guides all of our actions? Is it love? Mario Vargas Llosa would without a doubt say literature. In his essay entitled “Why Literature?” Vargas Llosa argues that literature should stop being viewed as a pastime and start being seen for what it really is: an absolute necessity. Throughout the essay, he backs his argument with several premises highlighting the different functions of literature. Primarily, Vargas Llosa claims that literature is one of the uniting factors of human existence and can bring people together no matter their professions, life plans, location, or their personal circumstances. He also argues that literature is the “food …show more content…
Interestingly enough, the title of the poem translates into “it is sweet and honorable,” which creates quite the juxtaposition because it becomes obvious within the first stanza that the poem is anything but sweet. Including words such as “haunting” and “lost” there is undeniably a mood that is more similar to hopeless and exhausted than sweet and honorable. This sharp contrast serves to peak the readers interest right from the beginning of the poem and also can serve as a metaphor for the meaning of the poem as a whole. Upon first glance, the poem appears to be pretty positive, but when the reader actually begins reading the poem, it becomes obvious that it is about unveiling the harsh realities of war. This can be paralleled with the publicity the war receives: although the war leaves the soldiers exhausted, hopeless, and haunted, it is portrayed in a positive light to the country as a whole—especially the youth. The stanza that follows starts out with something that affects the reader much in the way that the reality of war affects the young soldiers going into battle for the first time: they go from somewhat calm to wondering what on earth is happening in a matter of a few seconds. Reading the first stanza undoubtedly makes the reader feel as though war is terrible, but it isn’t until reading the second stanza that the real desperation of the soldiers sets in. The second stanza begins with capital letters and exclamation marks surrounding the word “gas” and then the author recounts the feeling of fumbling with the gas mask and barely getting it on in time. This serves as yet another extended metaphor for war—this one highlighting how naïve soldiers feel when facing the reality of war for the first time.The reader most likely did not see this coming, just as the soldiers did not expect to get hit with poison gas on their walk to the

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Literature is read and studied for countless reasons, independent to each individual reader, but, Bloom contends, with a generalising statement, “ultimately we read…in order to strengthen the self” (Bloom 22), ignoring any other intention as to read or study literature. Literature, whilst can offer to ‘strengthen the self’ as declared by Bloom, can strive to accomplish other purposes, too. Literature encompasses various fields of study – history, philosophy, theatre, linguistics, art, psychology, science, etc – therefore it is illogical to claim that it can only achieve one goal. Studying literature opens gateways into these fields of study, illuminating readers to extensive and comprehensive information and enlightening them on various facets of human existence. Additionally, literature does not always have to be didactic, in fact escapism and simple pleasure are also valid reasons for studying and reading literature.…

    • 944 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Throughout the article Salter produces a tone of superiority while discussing the topics of literature and language. Salter uses the scenario about language and without it there would possibly be no religion or higher power. Upon this quote Salter states, “… God is entirely dependent on language: prayer, sermons, hymns, the Bible or other texts. Without language God might exist, but not be described.” Salter continues to use examples to help support his claim on the value of language. For example, at one point in the article Salter appears to compare himself as great a writer as Shakespeare because he made up a word known as “biblios.” He makes this comparison of himself to…

    • 988 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Even though Passini is not in the actual fighting part of the war, he still is affected by the war. He knows how people are affected and gets upset by war. Because of all the death and loss that happens. Hemingway wants to show how the loss affects people. He does this by showing Fredi’s outlook on life when Fredi states, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.…

    • 1089 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Three Strongest Words I really enjoyed the poem, Three Strongest Words. I liked this poem because though the poem was very short, it also was very deep and left me thinking about each word the author described. For instance, when the author wrote about the word silence, saying as soon as you say the word you destroy it I had to stop, and think what she meant. This poem also made me very confused because of the way the author presented the poem. For example, when she described someone speaking the word future, she said the first syllable is in the past.…

    • 1018 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    (1253) Instead of breezing right through the poem, the reader tends to pause and absorb each line and the meaning she is trying to communicate within it. Thomas, on the other hand, uses very powerful, fast-moving words such as “Rage, rage” and “Curse, bless” to give his poem strength and intense impact (1182). This togetherness, or verbal sound, in each poem makes it easier to follow and hear, which, in turn, is “another aspect of the ‘naturalness’ of poetry that Brooks and Warren claim is needed within the poem (3). Brooks and Warren suggest that metaphor in poetry is a “natural—even essential—way of expression” and that although it can be considered a “way of saying,” it can also be what is being “said” (4-5). Dickinson uses several metaphors in her poem.…

    • 1174 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    I picked this poem because it's one that needs to be heard. We're All Fragile, Us Humans by Matt Haig I picked this poem for my poetry anthology because I'm passionate about human rights and equality. Like the previous poem, this is a poem that I believe needs to be heard. Welcome by Rupi Kaur I really just like the poet Rupi Kaur and wanted to give her more exposure in my poetry anthology because I believe she's deserving of it. I picked this poem at random, but looking back, I can see why and that's simply because it's true.…

    • 977 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Wordsworth constructed the poem in order so it would flow easier and more pleasing to the reader. Another way he does this is by the way he writes the poem in blank verse and in iambic pentameter (Robinson 2). Many poets write their poems in iambic pentameter because it gives the poem a beat. Wordsworth does a great job in making the poem appealing to the reader. There are many different literary devices in the poem “Tintern Abbey,” but he wrote this poem because of the stresses going on in the world at that…

    • 2047 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The sirens seem like such delicate creatures that the sailor’s don’t question their irrational decisions to jump overboard. In the same way, the poem’s message can seem so clear until all of a sudden it is too late, and the reader has been tricked. The poem lacks what may typically be considered artistic language, but the simple words that Atwood chose to use creates an immense power over the reader. Thus, the manipulative power of women is demonstrated by the simple diction in the poem. Throughout the poem “Siren Song”, by Margaret Atwood, repetition, verse form, and diction are used to demonstrate the manipulative power of women.…

    • 1002 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Despite the important comments that Arnold makes about the importance of literature, his conception disregards the conjunction of science and literature. In other words, the relationship between the investigative processes and its effects on human nature. Simply put, there is an even greater importance of applying the most provocative research of today to literature and vise versa. In turn, this cycle places greater emphasis on transferring contemporary ideas to elevate the multitude. Furthermore, the emphasis of education should be on transmuting thought into human conduct or liquid bronze into solid…

    • 1463 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He processes by outlining a few of the differences between the two types of readers. The book then goes forward by defining what good literature is “But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself” (Lewis, 141). By this he states that to fully grasp a work as a whole, you must surrender to the work, and analyses it from every angle. Lewis leads the reader to think about how a person reads a book and why they read. With his love and appreciation towards literature, Lewis addresses the argument of what constitutes a good book and bad book.…

    • 805 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays