'Why Literature?' By Mario Vargas Llosa Essay

1581 Words 7 Pages
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

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