According to Belsey, reading literature offers insight into the author’s world, whether past or current, and assists in the recognition of the meaning, setting, and multiple variables that help in answering the different questions asked by the audience (27). However, it is wrong to conclude that all writing is founded on genuine events and real stories told by the writers of the world’s numerous masterpieces because some of the stories are based on pure imagination, folklore, and tales that may or may not have been true or lack a full reality. Nonetheless, it is essential to read the literature as if it portrays the actual events being talked By doing this, it provides the reader with the ability to understand the author’s perspective and give answers to the reader on the several questions they may have or develop during the reading. In addition to following the author, literature also enables the reader to relate the work of the author to their current environment, by addressing some of the present events taking place in the society. Thus, literature is a useful material in trying to understand the culture and the people that form the community.
It is safe to imply that literature has some truth in its creation and the depiction of some of the happenings in the society associated with the context of the author’s narrative. Most of the literary works done by prominent authors are based on actual stories and events that influenced the authors to come up with their work. These events often are categorized as personal occurrences or happenings in the society that affected the author’s lives at one point in time, which gave them the outlook on the matter and influenced their creations. While the contrary opinion is also correct since many literary works are also influenced purely by fiction and stories that do may be exaggerated to suit the perceptions of the author. Fictional and exaggerated stories are not the only works of literature not based on truth, but they provide the best examples of literary work that is not the actual scenarios in the environment but have significance in the society. Literary fiction is a smart way to portray hidden meanings through playful language, figurative or poetic style, which is used to highlight the struggles of humanity in most instances.
While literature may be based on factual or fictional events that are depicted by the author’s imagination, the reading of the literary works requires a straightforward approach. Belsey, points out that common sense demands that the interpretation of literature is grounded in the context of the production, the society, and the human nature involved in its creation (2). Reading of literary work requires the reader to understand the perceptions that are being given by the author and finding out how the material compares to an individual comprehension concerning the thoughts of the author. This provides meaning and substance to the reading of literature because not only does it give enjoyment to the reader but also opens the mind of the reader to new insights and happenings that are taking place in their environment. The relation of literature to the society and the events that take place in the community is a demonstration of the influence of these materials in not only educating the reader but also creating awareness on social events that often are easily ignored. Issues of social injustices are cleverly incorporated in literature and provide the required wakefulness to the reader to associate their circumstances to those in the literary works.
Belsey also claims that common sense in reading of literature material, requires the reader to understand that literary work is not a “deliberate and self-conscious practice” that is undertaken by the authors; but should be read as if the author meant what was written as truth, to provide an understanding of the perceptions and insinuations depicted in the material (2). This statement implies that whether truthful or fictitious, literature requires the reader to assume material to contain some truth to assist in understanding the intended message by the author. As earlier noted, literary work is centered on the circumstance that takes place within the environment of the author, whether imaginary or real, since the events spoken by the author are their direct imaginations. These imaginations are relative to the events in the society that are hidden ingeniously in the words of the literary works and require the reader to be able to decipher the meanings by the author. These stories hold an existing relationship with human nature, and the society in the depiction of some happenings and some of the scenarios that occur have a direct connection with current incidents in the society. From issues of injustice to politics, wars, and ethics, literary works cleverly capture some events that are predominant in the society and highlights them to the reader discretely without prejudice.
In conclusion, it is possible to use literature as a tool in trying to understand the perceptions held in the society and the cognition of the human nature as it pertains to the interaction with the society. Authors of literature carefully utilize their surroundings to motivate their imagination in the creation of their material, which often depicts the setting and context of the authors’ environments. It is important to note that not all literature material is based on factual events; equally, fiction material has its prominence in literature and provides an intelligent platform for authors to highlight on societal issues and the challenges affecting humanity in their environment and the world at large. Reading novels requires the audience to absorb themselves into the world of the author to understand the perceptions and message that the author is conveying. Moreover, literary works should not necessarily be read as truth or fictitious material, but it needs the reader to employ common sense in learning the work of the author to gain an understanding of the message in the literature materials. Finally, it is vital to take notice that literary work is useful in the creation of awareness of both past and present issues that are continually affecting the political, social and economic well-being of the society.
Belsey, Catherine. Critical practice, 2nd ed., (London: Routledge, 2002).