First, here’s the story. My professor, as a way of introducing everyone in the class to each other, handed us each a sheet of questions, paired us off, and then asked us to interview each other. We asked for each other’s names, what our intended major was, what literature classes we had taken before, and, at the very end, what literature we had read recently—all very generic and easy questions to answer…or so I thought.
As we took turns introducing our partners to the class, I found that we were a pretty diverse group: freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, English majors, nursing majors, art majors, ??? majors, 1st-8th literature class, etc. It made things interesting. But, what made it funny was the recent pieces of literature people had read: The Great Gatsby, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Midnight’s Children, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Twilight, True Blood…Noticing a rather comical trend or am I just being a completely awful person for rolling my eyes at this point?
Don’t get me wrong, I am NO literature nazi. In fact, literature is quite near the bottom of my list (with the exception of classic Victorian literature and some children’s Literature). Still, sometimes I prefer a good old Science Fiction, monster say “Arrrgh!”, high action kind of young adult novel. However, I do know the difference! Even my professor couldn’t help but mention, “One of these days we will discuss what literature is.” After that, I was done. I would have been rolling on the floor if it wouldn’t have been so disruptive and if it wouldn’t have given my fellow classmates a legitimate reason to think I was insane.
Now, there are several different definitions that explain what literature “is”, but I think it’s nice to put it in your own words. For me, literature is a piece of writing (prose or verse) that has some extra layer to it. It’s not just a story. It’s has timeless references and social repercussions. It can be analyzed and broken down for further meaning. It’s an allegory for something more ambiguous than the piece itself. It’s…stuffy. Yeah, that works. :)
So, is my story funny to you yet? Or am I too harsh on my fellow (strange) classmates?
What is your definition of literature?
Read any great literature lately? Or have you read any great “literature” lately?