Literature is an imaginative writing. Fiction writers, poets and playwright strive in each of these imaginative genres to convey not simply information or factual knowledge but also emotional knowledge, and often we what we call wisdom, or vision. Imaginative writing attempts to reflect the whole of human experiences, in all of its various dimensions. The study of literature is an invitation to come along and explore the territory each writer guides us through, and to make discoveries there. Each author’s territory is filled with sight and songs and vivacious or mysteries characters greet us at every turn (B.Barnard,2006). There are three genres of imaginative writing which we have studied in literature; fiction, poetry and drama
It is very important to study these forms of imaginative writing which we call literature, in order to set them apart from more reportorial and informational forms of writing. But there are also things which the study of literature has in common with the study of other forms of written expression. Reading fiction, poetry and drama in a context where you are encouraged to think, interpret, discuss, compare ideas, and do your own writing about what you discover will also help students sharpen their analytical skills, and the study of literature offers an excellent opportunity to do just that. At the same time, students will be sampling stories, poems, and plays that most reader find pleasurable to discover and discuss.
Studying literature will also provide students a window of other cultures, perspectives, ways of life, and even other historical periods. All writers are story teller. Reading the stories told by voices from many cultural backgrounds not only help students to broaden their understanding and appreciation of the differences and unique attributes but help students to discover what people have in common. Despite the variety of cultural and geographical landscape, there is nonetheless a common project that all of these imaginative writers are engaged in. Truly, it is the territory of the human heart that they are all exploring first and foremost.
Studying literature definitely going to improve one’s English due to all of the words that one might find in reading literature. Some words might be ordinary and simple yet they are words that might force the reader to look up their meaning in the dictionary. However, in poetry one might find it more complicated to discover meaning of a word because poet tends to create and invent their own word. This phenomenon is termed as noance formation where poet invent some new word based on the rules of word-formation but these new words are seldom or hardly used on other occasions. This will expand one’s lexicon and provide them with knowledge of word-formation.
Literature is kind of tricky to be learnt and understand because there are some techniques that we called deviation and parallelism. Deviation might occur on various levels, for instance phonological, morphological, grammatical, lexical, semantic, dialectal etc. Phonological deviation might change the pronunciation of some words in order to make it rhymes with others. Hence one need to carefully listen to the right pronunciation, so they can avoid mispronouncing any words. Morphological deviation is related to the formation of words whether there is prefix, suffix, infix or circumfix. In literature, writers always play with affixation to foreground their works. They usually add affixation at the wrong place or they intentionally remove their ‘usual’ affixes. One will not only learn literature but also morphology when discussing a writer’s work. Thus, they will probably improve their English easily since they will learn many language’s aspects while learning literature.
Besides, students also are exposed with the aspect of syntax when they encounter syntactical deviation in any literary work. In syntax, deviations might be in the forms of bad or incorrect grammar and also syntactic rearrangement. Some poets will disregard the rules of sentences in their works in order to create deviation. In discussing the literary work, one’s might revise it so that it will be more grammatical. Hence, they will learn syntax via literature. Apart from that, another important aspect of English that one’s might learn from studying literature is semantic. Semantic is actually the study of meaning of a word. However, in semantic deviation that one might stumble frequently in literature. It’s always linked to transference of meaning. For instance, “a grief ago” i.e. phrases containing a word whose meaning violates the expectations created by the surrounding words. Semantic deviation can be meant as non-sense or absurdity, so long as we realize that sense is used, in this context, in a strictly literal minded way. E.g. “She was a phantom of delight”. Others example of semantic deviation is the use of simile; like, such. This describes relation that is logically inconsistent or paradoxical in some ways. This sort of deviation may prompt the reader to look beyond the dictionary definition of the words in order to interpret the text. Another type of semantic deviation is personification i.e. giving human characteristic to non-living things. From all these types of semantic deviation, one might need to pay full attention in order to gain knowledge from both literature and linguistics field.
Learning parallelism in literature is less tricky that deviation since it is a rhetorical device characterized by overregularity or repetitive structure. Like deviation it’s also can be analyzed on many different level which are phonology, graphology, morphology, grammar vocabulary, semantic and also pragmatics. Parallel structures often induce readers to perceive a ‘same meaning’ or ‘opposite meaning’ relationship between the parallel parts. One can rely to ‘parallelism processing rule’ to predict a bizarre and peculiar word that he or she never comes across before. Thus, one can increase their lexicon by studying stylistic language. Moreover, one also can increase their vocabulary on the parallelism phonological level via creating rhyme. This is because searching for a rhyme word can stimulate the imagination, as it suggests ideas which may otherwise not have occurred to them. One has a chance to show off their skills by meeting the technical demands of rhyme without forcing unlikely words into his or her writing. Additionally, one might also learn the correct pronunciation of consonants, vowels, diphthongs etc. from assonance, consonance and also alliteration. Likewise, students are also exposed with the stress patterning from learning rhythm i.e. the regular period beat. In the learning of rhythm, one will be required to know whether a syllable is stresses or unstressed hence they will need to learn and improve the pronunciation of their English words.
On top of that, students will need to learn the meaning of metaphor discussed in literature. Metaphor can occurs when a word or phrase in one semantic field in other to talk about one things as if it were another quite different thing. Via this, students are assigned to find the abstract meaning of a metaphor not only the direct meaning of it. Hence, students need to broaden their knowledge on English’s metaphor to discover the meaning behind it. Some of metaphors are becoming dead metaphor because it’s frequently been used without realizing what they are. For instance, thunderous applause and a stroke of bad luck are dead metaphor. Aside from metaphor, other tropes are metonymy, synecdoche and hyperbole which can boost one’s lexicon.
Last but not least, one can benefited from literature by reading a lot of literary texts. From this, one can dive into the history of English’s literature and learn the background of the English starting from Old English, Middle English, The Renaissance, Early modern English and finally modern English. Throughout this, one can discover the chronological of English development and the work of famous English’s writer in various eras such as William Shakespeare, Chaucer, T.S Eliot and others. English development are very lucid and clear to be observed via literature thus studying literature will benefiting one in many aspects.
In the nutshell, studying literature can improve one’s English in many ways such as increasing their vocabulary, learning metaphor and stylistic figures, correcting the pronunciation of certain words, constructing grammatical sentence syntactically and morphologically. Aside from discovering other cultural background, student can also expand their imagination and their creativity in using English language while writing their own stories. Thus, it is very vital for every student to take Literature course and relate it with English since mastering Literature will definitely enhance one’s English performance and skills.
*This is actually my literature assignment in 'Language and Literature' course. I'll be glad if you're reading this as a reference for your assignment. I forgot to include the references when I wrote this 2 semester ago.