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8 Reasons Why Literature is Important

8 Reasons Why Literature is Important

Literature is one of the broad terms in the world of English. However, most people define it as writing with cultural, lasting artistic, or intellectual value. In addition, literature comprises ancient Greek plays, Charlotte Bronte’s novels, James Baldwin’s essays, and many more. Such writing includes complex ideas and issues, encouraging everyone to entertain brand-new ways of idealizing and thinking. But, the main question still stands, why is literature important? Let’s go through this detailed blog to learn more.

1. Literature is a potent stress reliever.

Books and Literature

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There is no secret to the fact that literature can curb stress and depression. Thinking about it psychologically, whenever people are stressed, they often think about the harsh reality and pressures they’re under. Novels and other pieces of literature allow a reader to hide from the current state and promote active and passive thinking. This further allows a reader to disconnect from the world and be imaginative. In the late 2000s, Sussex University conducted various studies exploring the effects of literature and how it can reduce stress by around 70%.

2. Literature fuels imagination

Imagination is a result of thinking, reading, experiencing, visualizing, and so much more. As per the WLF or World Literacy Foundation, reading is the best way to develop sturdy imagination. Since there’s minor work involved in movies, reading pages can help significantly. Poems, novels, and essays promote visualization. When you’re watching a movie, sequences are already playing in the background. Reading literature strengthens your brain and allows you to explore the imaginative corners of the brain, which eventually lead to innovation and creativity.

3. Reading literature can improve focus and concentration.

Have you ever wondered how to alleviate the loss of concentration? Even though doctors recommend reading, people don’t usually commit to such practices. That is because of the time and effort involved. If an individual is not a reader, sitting down to read many pages will be challenging. However, there are other options to get started with reading novels or essays. Consider picking a complex piece of art. Once you’re done with this step, allow yourself an hour in the entire day to focus on what’s there in the book. Through such a process, you can develop a considerable level of focus and concentration.

4. Reading books can keep the brain healthy and active.

Reading Literature Keeps the Brain Healthy

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The habit of reading can transform the way your brain tends to think. Stretching concentration and improving imagination levels lead to healthy mental stimulation. Just like you work on bodily muscles in the gym or training field, one needs to work on the brain too. Since the brain is a muscle, it only gets better when you keep it active and healthy. Moreover, certain research pieces show that mental stimulation can alleviate degenerative brain conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

5. Literature expands an individual’s vocabulary.

Unlike books or magazines that are meant for sporadic reading, literature comprises a complex vocabulary. And, when it comes to old literature writings, you may not be accustomed to or familiar with the English vocabulary. For those learning an all-new language, familiarizing with literature can be ideal for enhancing and improving vocab skills.

6. Literature for communication skills

Reading is the driving factor to improve writing skills. Not only is such a practice enriching but also integral when it comes to communication skills. Moreover, this extends beyond writing. When an individual is amid specific interactions and conversations, reading books can play an essential part in making things easier. Since good communication is vital in every aspect of life, be it relationships or careers, exposure to literature at a tender age can be beneficial in several ways. On the other hand, adults can continue reading different types of literature to improve their communication skills.

7. Literature can teach readers about history.

Reading Books Encourages Empathy

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History is an elementary tool that can enrich several angles of your personality. Through the scope of history, readers can distinctively engage with history. Speaking of which, it is much more interesting than studying facts and memorizing timelines. When you read a fictional book that does not emphasize an event, you can expose your think tank to various perspectives from the text’s creation age. Remember, ancient China’s literature will uncover truths differently as compared to 19th-century England.

8. Reading literature encourages empathy.

Every community will demand empathy, or we may delve into a brutal situation that hurts every sapien. Some pieces of research have revealed that literature can promote empathy among human beings. This is because some novels tend to comprise complex characters that need to be perceived by a reader. Psychological literature allows you to think aggressively. And, when someone does that, it is easier to relate to the character. Moreover, people reading fiction constantly are better at perceiving what other people are feeling or thinking. Besides, when science is not yet settled, literature could make us better beings.

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The Importance of Reading Fiction

The Importance of Reading Fiction

This article by Hannah Frankman was previously published on

I am going to begin this article by posing an argument: reading fiction is important.

Everyone can agree that reading is an important component in developing a successful life. Consuming content sharpens your intellect and builds your knowledge set. It seems almost universal that the more successful you are, the more you read.

But this focus on reading is one-dimensional. People get caught up in nonfiction — self-help books, business books, books on sales and health and psychology and relationships. These are all valid books to spend your time reading — they’re filled with information that can help better you in your career and your life — but it’s a mistake to leave fiction in the dust.

It is a forgotten gem, an untapped well of knowledge and information. A person developing and aiming for success should steep themselves in fiction, and read it copiously.

I’ve made my argument. Now to answer the question that follows all such bold claims: why?

Fiction helps you understand other people’s perspectives

Fiction has a power that no other form of communication does: the power to insert you fully and completely in someone else’s mind. It is a meld between the mind of the reader and the writer, and the minds of reader and character.

When you read fiction, you’re seeing the world through a character’s eyes.

Watching a character interact with the world around them is powerful. When studying history, a history book gives you a series of dry facts and anecdotes, but historical fiction sets you down in the middle of the time period, allows you to touch and taste the world around you, interact with contemporaries, solve problems. You understand the period contextually as you never could from the removed perspective of a history book.

Good fiction runs deep into the realms of psychology and philosophy. It explores and uncovers paradigm. It allows you to understand perspectives you’ve never seen before, both psychological and physical.

When you read fiction, you can be someone you’d never otherwise have the chance to become — another gender, another age, someone of another nationality or another circumstance. You can be an explorer, a scientist, an artist, a young and single mother or an orphaned cabin boy or a soldier.

When you take off the guise again — set down the book — you walk away changed. You understood things you didn’t understand before, and that shapes your worldview.

Fiction deepens your understanding of evolution

Everything evolves — individuals evolve. Paradigms evolve. Cultures evolve. Technology evolves. To study history is to study the evolution of civilization.

All stories have narrative arcs — a beginning, a middle, and an end. This arc marks an evolution — be it of a character or a series of events. Something comes out changed.

This phenomenon of evolution is important on multiple levels. On a conceptual scale, watching evolution occur in fiction is valuable, because fiction deals in expedited timelines. You can see things from a zoomed-out perspective and see things you wouldn’t observe in normal day-to-day life. Watching the evolution unfold helps you begin to understand the process.

On the level of an individual, watching characters evolve helps us understand individual human evolution — both that of those around us, and our own.

On a broader level, fiction allows us to see the evolution of events, narratives, trajectories — even societies.

When we look at the world, we see it in pieces, and it’s hard to understand how those pieces fit together. On a linear timeline, how did we get from point A to point B? Fiction gives us context.

The importance of reading fiction

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Fiction allows you to see the big picture

Point A to point B applies not only linearly, but in our day-to-day lives. All things in our world fit together, and fiction allows us to see how.

Fiction gives us the rare opportunity to look at the world from a removed perspective.

Fiction, in its narration, condenses. It pulls out the things that are important and highlights them, juxtaposes them against each other, elaborates on them, paints them clearly as we don’t usually see them. An evolution that can take years — the building of a relationship, the unfolding of a war, the deterioration of a strong young man into a weak old one — can be observed in hours.

In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck highlighted truths about the Great Depression that those in the middle of its dust couldn’t clearly see. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald draws a picture of a man with an overdeveloped persona in a way that one cannot see interacting with him at the surface, but can only discern from a distance.

It makes the world clearer to see all of it at once — like flying high above the trees to see the forest, or looking at the world via a map — instead of on the ground where you can’t tell if there’s a street running parallel to the one you’re on.

Fiction allows you to look at the world in an entirely different light

When you read fiction, you’re looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. It could be argued that this is true of all writing — or even all forms of communication — and this argument would be true, but fiction does something unique that all other forms cannot. It takes us inside — inside the mind and the perspective of the character. You’re seeing a world defined on their terms: their metaphors used to describe their surroundings, their context for events, their perspective on happenings and relationships.

Looking at the world in different lights is one of the most vital things one can do in the pursuit of growth. Our perspectives are limited, but they’re constantly evolving. When we look at the world through someone else’s perspective, we try on the elements of their paradigm — and when we find something we like, we adopt it and make it our own. In doing so, our own paradigm grows.

Fiction makes our lives rich

Fiction deals with the things that make us fundamentally human. Conflict, passion, love, lust, fear, hatred, jealousy, exaltation. The things we crave, the things that move us most.

Fiction makes us feel, and that feeling makes us richer.

On a very basic level, it makes our lives better to fill ourselves with fiction.

Fiction helps us understand

The definition of fiction is something made up, but fiction ultimately deals in truth. Remember that Hemingway quote I opened with? There’s another, equally as compelling as the first:

“All good books have one thing in common — they are truer than if they had really happened, and after you’ve read one of them you will feel that all that happened, happened to you and then it belongs to you forever: the happiness and unhappiness, good and evil, ecstasy and sorrow, the food, wine, beds, people, and the weather.” — Ernest Hemingway

I confess that I’m biased. I am a literature person — I see the world with a literary mind. When I read fiction after a spell of abstinence, it’s like taking a long drink of cold water on a hot day when your mouth is dry.

Acknowledgement: not all fiction is valuable. Poor writing, shallow plots, and petty drama have little value — at least, little that I’ve found. But not all nonfiction books are valuable either. Shoddy “dime store romances” aside, fiction has endless potential to bring value to your life.

Next time you see someone reading fiction, don’t turn up your nose and sniff under your breath. Go read some yourself.

This article by Hannah Frankman was previously published on

About the Author:

Hannah Frankman is a writer, videographer, photographer, educator, and creative. You can find more of her work at, and find snapshots of her story at

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

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