Literacy, its Importance, and the Benefits it has on our Mental Wellbeing

Literacy, it is magic!

Literature, what do you perceive when such a word is mentioned? What do you feel, or think, when a literary product is close by? Do you yearn to explore its offerings? Do you deny its existence? Whether you are one of these, I think we can all agree that not everybody shares the same adorations for books. There is nothing sinful about being without a readership — we all have ways in distracting ones’ brains from our mundane actualities. Some of us watch Television — films; some of us listen to music — or, produce our own — sports may be one’s go-to sanctuary to avoid the norm. There are multiple mechanisms at our fingertips to just get away from it all. However, with that being said, I now detect the need, to be honest: I am not here to vouch for other avenues, I am here to attempt to persuade you to take a stroll down Book Boulevard. To convert you to the Church of Literacy. In this essay, I will explain various forms related to literature — to showcase the versatility of its charm, I will explain my own experiences, I will describe the benefits it could have on your mental wellbeing, and finally, I will depict why it is important for us as people, and, for our society. Shall we begin?

Literacy is a megalopolis — no, I shall rephrase; literacy is a universe — a delicious blend of exhilarating galaxies, and each galaxy, begets a plenitude of planets to investigate. It can range from nonfiction to fiction, to factual fiction. As a reader myself — and I am certain fellow readers feel the same — depending on my condition, my wants and needs can vary. To demonstrate, I am currently writing as a college student; therefore, the urge for factuality has amplified. When a student — as many of you will understand — lecturers/teachers deliver plentiful of activities to which demand numerous amounts of factual knowledge; hence, the imminent quotes and references that will emerge in this essay. However, when one feels the urge to entertain oneself, I direct my energy toward fiction. Although I must admit, becoming a student has transformed my perspective on journalism: it brings me pride to recognise key events that may materialise in our world. The factual side is chock full of material. Here is a list of types that could occupy your mind.

An abundance of readers tend to harbour a fascination for popular figures — whether past or present — for Film/Television stars, political, sports personalities, musicians, and more; are you in this category? If so, numerous enlightening books await your curious eyes. Reaching from autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, and more, these works let you unravel the intriguing, and most intimate moments, in that personalities life. Now, I know what you are thinking: I can experience this via documentaries and other media that enable this. To oppose, I will put forward a reason why a book would be more enriching. Books, other than having a charming appearance, have the potential to be a noble companion that will be there in your most delicate moments. Imagine this, it is a rainy day, you feel doomed in despair, and you can do nothing more than gaze out at the storm; now, before you turn on the TV or play music, inspect your surroundings — examine the neglected spaces in your residence — wait, what is that? Is that a book I see in a thick coat of dust? I wonder what that is concerning. Go on, pick it up and see, you may be in for an adventure — your mood may diminish. Now, I shall revisit the previously mentioned topic of biographic and autobiographic novels. Can one fathom the pleasure of holding an object created by your favourite star? No? Do you want to? If you do, then the opportunity is closer than you deem. This comes in the form of an autobiography or memoir. Think about it. You go to the bookstore, you observe the piles of novels of all kinds, the people — young and old — reading silently or drifting from shelf to shelf in awe of the opportunities at hand, the aromatics dancing gracefully; then, you detect the fragrance that suits your desires: you see the book cover that holds the entity you crave to comprehend. To get a taste, you open it to the first page and commence reading. It grabs you. Wraps around your heart in a soft embrace. You’re reading the beginning of their life — examining each phrase written from their hand. You make the purchase. You take it home, make a drink, get settled and witness their life come alive from their words. This will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship; an experience that one will eternally cherish. How does that sound? I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me. When pondering in such (as I am now), I conceive an image of the author — drained from the hours of graft — typing away in their magnificent residence while smiling, crying, grimacing and cringing in the recalling of the most awkward, powerful and emotionally moving periods. When thinking of the before-mentioned scenarios, it creates a notion of regard, thus, transpiring the need in purchasing such a novel. Do you have a personality in mind? It could be anyone. Maybe a US president? A UK prime minister? A royal? A civil rights activist, perhaps? If so, may I recommend Martin Luthor King Jr? To read from the words of a man who altered the profile of America and modified numerous of its most hard-nosed citizens is breathtaking. He is confessing to you. Describing to you the sentimental and fearful moments that occurred away from the spotlight. Is he an influence that prompted the/an ultimate resolution? If true, grasp the prospect — purchase their book — take it home and witness their life evolve in front of your very eyes. What are you waiting for? Do it! I know I am going to.

Now, I shall rearrange my focus to factual fiction. This is a truly complex technique to master — that is if such a word can be used in any profession. Factual fiction is a glorious method as the writer juggles with historical eras — famous/infamous — while implementing their original incidences and selves to those times. I respect the writers of this profession. They are a breed that has been celebrated for centuries — a breed that has stirred the pot of what is seemingly a bland recipe and combined it with spice. It is a discipline that could take numerous years of practice; however, when one has clutched its vitality, they can indulge in the privileges they have earned. This is a force that has the potential to convert individuals who may regard history as monotonous. With this expansion of readership, several individuals will recognise the misfortunes — and winnings — that befell in our nations/communities; consequently, generating an urge in transferring their engagement to others. Therefore, as the younger generations develop, they will recommence passing on the information once provided to them by the previous generations. Picture this, it is World War II. We are in war-torn London and a debilitated child roams the streets in search of their father — who could be deceased — or, clinging on for dear life in a mound of rubble. They are clothed in shredded garments while crying out their father’s name. It looks inevitable that this youngling may have lost their family permanently — mother, siblings, already deceased from the bombings — their father is their remaining blood. As they reach a point in their quest, they detect a frenzy from around the corner; they follow the distressful bellows to which concludes in the findings of their father being hoisted out of a mountain of rubble by the surrounding aid. Filled with a cocktail of exploding sensations — grief and relief overwhelming them — they struggle to breach the crowd to reach their parent. Sadly, all that awaits is a corpse once filled by a soul. This is factual. This is where fiction morphs the scenario. An identical journey unfolds; however, it ends with their father missing. Here commences a narrative fuelled by the inner call to recover their missing loved one. Although, one shall not have it easy. Onward, they have an endeavour that has a lasting lifeline. Throughout this duration, they age in years, meet new people and acquire like-minded companions who have suffered the same loss. We witness the main role push forward in their search with the help of their freshly found alliance. The gruelling crusade takes years; and then, we are enabled to observe the concluding scene: they locate their father in a hospital where he is encased in bandages. Meanwhile, VE day emanates from the radio via Winston Churchill’s speech, and the nation erupts in triumph that would be duplicated in the ensuing decades. That is the power of factual fiction. With dramatic changes to a disturbance, while contriving to uphold the authentic events of WWII or separate historical events, one can devise a wonderful factual fictional narrative that will draw in new readers.

Now, I shall speak of fiction — the storytelling king. For myself, this literary genre is the mothership of all novels. What is pleasanter than being transported to a world that will never exist? As human beings, we can distinguish the realism of our current circumstances: we cannot wear a cape and fly, we cannot time travel, we cannot rid of evil and live in a utopia, we cannot sunbathe on the sun itself, we cannot… I think you get the idea. In fiction, we can do just that, however deranged it appears, it has prevented billions from going haywire for copious years by ridding of boredom. Dullness, such a bleak experience for us all; It can inflict tormenting moments that may suggest it will never desist. We have all been there: an alone being wandering aimlessly around trying to calculate away in attaining some excitement. All possibilities seem tiring: my friend resides considerably far away, I am too lethargic to phone them, there is nothing on television that excites me and I cannot materialise the enthusiasm to watch a film. Now, listen hither! One has not illuminated all plausibilities. One has overlooked the grimy bookshelves which cry thy name. Tend to its bellows — befriend these misunderstood treasures and relish in their offerings — they will not disappoint you. One of the exceptional qualities in fiction is the icons that it can showcase. Fictional storytelling has given rise to a plentitude of famous names — to name some, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, HG Wells, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, Enid Blyton — many more! With these names appear eternal opportunities to indulge in; ranging from dragons, magic, aliens, alternate realities — to which mix with heart-pounding thrills which force the joyous shakes and shivers. How does that sound? To supplement, the genre continues to deliver comfort to children around the globe. It brings them laughter, expands their mind, thus, willing them to follow their interests. Who knows what feeding their reading desires may bring? One may have a future writer on their hands!

In this segment, I shall reveal my encounters with literature. Let me take you on a journey — pass through this time machine with me — secure your hand to mine and I shall steer you safely. Now we are here, let us start. It all originated when one was a child. I was offbeat — not one with the others. I relished playing by myself: conjuring fantastical worlds with my playthings that only I could perceive. I remember it clearly. I used to sit in a bubble at home and fabricate infinite storylines. With this fascination, came the desire to explore the written word. I began reading the likes of Roald Dahl, R.L. Stine, J.K. Rowling and others.

Sadly, the desires diminished when teen years ascended: I was too fixed on hanging amongst pals while discussing the opposite gender. I craved to merge with normality. However, that did not mean the fascination was completely forgotten; simmering within was the appetite for storytelling. With assistance from a dear friend, we entered a diversity of environments, in such, furtherly expanding our companionship. Knowing each other for over a decade — hence, trusting him with what I considered an uncool hobby — it stands to reason why we spent many months constructing our whimsical worlds. Among this, was the innocent teamwork we both formulated. With our heads together, we were able to assemble words that, may not have been qualified for publishing, but largened the possibilities in which the power of words could produce. We investigated avenues, entered doorways which broadened our horizons. We had a whole world in our presence; a world that we had designed. It may not have been evident to others, but it was evident to us. I can recollect one story we developed. I can see us now: sitting around a table, a thick pad of paper anticipating flows of ink, the concepts we shared — the exchange of words charged with enthusiasm — we were on to something — a bestseller, possibly? That’s what one visioned when the phrase, finished, could be vocalised. The story was rich in complexed themes and plots; our crazy fantasy involved spirits, devils, flying monstrosities and people. There was more, unfortunately, I cannot identify them. The plan orbited around a conflict that had persisted for centries between two communities: spirits and devils. Consequently, involving other species to battle alongside them. The heroes were an imprisoned heretic spirit, a person, and the other being that I fail to distinguish. Looking back now, I miss the times he and I spent together, the youthfulness — the naive expectations — it all seemed so simple. Though time progresses and our age climbs, leaving us with an unexpected shock birthed by lack of success. That’s what happened to me: I was advised by a college teacher that my writing needed work, that it may take years to get a book published. Hurt by this remark, I abandoned my aspirations of becoming a renowned novelist, got a job at a supermarket, and became a regular fellow. I was eighteen when this occurred. Furthermore, with my enthusiasm for writing descending into the sewer, I gradually developed a notion of loss: once more, I was longing to write.

After reaching my twenties (I wasn’t working at the supermarket anymore, I was/am a part-time cleaner at my local hospital), I had re-apprehended the significance of what storytelling meant to me and that I yearned to discover more about it. This was a prominent alteration in my life: somehow, the path seemed clearer and returning to college was the approach. Unfortunately, one’s participation failed to be fruitful; thus, the two-year course left me with no doors to unlock. However, I may have been unsuccessful in attaining admittance into my desired choosing, that did not imply I left empty-handed: I had obtained a substantial sum of knowledge from teachers to whom expressed their devotions for literature and the emotions it can invoke.

Two years following, the endeavour into constructing a novel ensued and again, the optimism for one’s future as an iconic storyteller reclaimed its spot. Stuffed with euphoria, the splashing of digital ink rapidly descended upon my laptop’s screen. This was the beginning of Ray Ryan, a coming-of-age tale based in Nottingham (my hometown), to which I self-published a year after. Two years subsequent, I self-published my next work, The Red, a zombie-apocalyptic narrative which followed a group of survivors. Composing these works took energy, and with that, took courage; yet again, I was delighted and abruptly visited by an old memory of my friend and I writing together as juveniles. Although what I was shortly exposed to was not profit or accolades and my long-awaited inauguration into the Kingdom of Literary Gods, it was the humbleness and ascension of being patient with crafting a story that developed. Not only did this establish a new angle on my relationship with literature, it ultimately transformed my opinion on literature as a whole. This leads me to explain my return to education in my early 30s.

It was the summer of 2018, and my existence — I feel peculiar in saying — had reached a wall; after the plethora of attempts in crafting a best-seller in my mid-to-late 20s, something struck me hard: I realised I needed help in achieving such a purpose. So, a return to education was imminent in the immediate future — apprehensive at first, I grew stronger to which helped me to progress. The course I accepted (although there was another course before that), Creative Writing for Media, gave me a leg-up in supporting my climb over the wall. Being surrounded by such just, talented and passionate teachers provided me with the knowledge which reshaped my idea of literature. They made me contemplate the greater picture: to not see it as simply a platform for formulating tales and reading books, but expertise, when understood enough, can be passed down to future generations and used as a light to healing the hurting — creating a smile — and, shedding light on the important matters around our wonderful world.

Two years have passed since my return to education. Since then, I have evolved my technique, read numerous books, written in a variety of formats, altered the way I converse (I am of formal tone), desire to teach myself and to want to become a professor. In two years, one has gone from wanting to only write novels, to yearning to teach and mould the next generation of wordsmiths. I must express, that writing is not merely a passion of mine, it is my life and without it, I will have no life worthy of continuance. This all stems from life-long mental health issues in such have been medicated by the power of literature and the discovering of the worlds around it. To put it plainly, it saved my life from yielding to depression.

Driving forward, I will discuss the benefits literature will have on your mental disposition, how it will guide you to a calm mind when your mind brews a chaotic storm and how it will relieve the monotony one’s life can produce. Our lives’, inevitably, can become frustrating; whether we have active lives or not, both can shift into lives that may begin to be mentally unprofitable: one could achieve a position that roused the excitement he/she desired — one could move to a neighbourhood that defines elegance — this does not mean that our brains’ will keep holding the excitement levels it started with. It doesn’t matter what it is — a new product we purchased, a new internal appearance in our homes’, a marriage — all may lose their appeal in a time when time enlargens. There is a way of preventing such occurrences: literature. Why is this worth mentioning? It is an extra component that will add intrigue when our daily existence begins running dry. It is simple, yet effective; we can witness a new and exciting life, especially when our lives vibrancy is lessening, by a turn of a page. Visualize this, you live alone — you have no friends and interests — or, you reside with a partner, and you’re sitting there bored out of your minds’; you have no inkling of how to change. Sadly, you have been undergoing this for a while. You feel lost. You feel all solutions lead to nowhere and your once bright light has fell victim to an indefinite powercut. Literature, my fellow humans, is the fuel to bring back that light — it is infinite.

I am a prime example of such happenings. During my mid-to-late twenties, I did not bother reading a thing. I too was at a loss. All I wanted to do was write unreadable stories and repeat the same lifestyle: playing on my PlayStation, hanging out with friends while conversing about subjects that held no intellectual expansion at all. This was my downfall. After repeating this for long periods, I declined into a depressive state: my brain was crying out for alternatives — a new circle of friends. It took me some time to comprehend how one could accomplish that, but when it happened, I realised that this was the transformation I was looking for. In hindsight, I am not astonished that this realisation commenced with a book. Recollecting, I picture myself joining writers’ groups in my late-twenties that were not only filled with individuals who were talented at writing, these writers were also avid readers. I, possibly the sole writer in those clubs who did not read, queried why their writing seemed so good, while mine, seemed the opposite. Being detached from a readership, I struggled to create a conversation with other writers. I remember discussing constructing narratives with one of them — when the discussion ended — there were no follow-through exchanges as we were limited by my lack of experiences with literature. I was sure the individual secretly disliked me for my indifference to reading — I remember them saying: “to become a better writer, you have to read” (I thought I was good enough and needed no advice). Irritated, and I must add, silly, I refused to digest their words and chose to toss them aside. However, this only made matters worse. With my defiance to reading as I perceived novels to be dull, the continuation of limited discussions persisted; I felt alone in a community I felt I belonged to. Already struggling from depression, it created a higher mountain for me to ascend. Tired, and desperate to feel at one with the writing community, I commenced reading a comic book called The Walking Dead, to which I received from a friend on Christmas day in 2016 at the age of 29 — this was the start of a beautiful, and mentally profitable, relationship. Comics, and graphic novels, provided me with the lift I needed to spring reading habits; other than plainly discussing constructing narratives, it expanded my possibilities in creating alternate conversations with the other writers. It was a blessing. When the evening of one writers’ gathering landed, I attempted to make follow-through conversations happen by speaking of The Walking Dead. Sadly, none were fans of the series and few were fans of the medium; however, this did not terminate further conversings: what followed were numerous recommendations from two/three writers to whom I began associating with. Thus, establishing a sense of belonging in the community I longed to belong to.

Now craving fresh material, I extended my knowledge on the comics medium via the recommendations of my fellow writers: more titles came and another type of comic was brought to my attention, manga. This broadened our companionship further to which left me with more of a positive mindset — I was on my way in gaining a new fellowship. Yet, one did not stop there. As time continued, my hunger for more reading material broadened; this was initiated by my return to education in 2018 — in such, gave rise to interest in reading novels by suggestions from teachers and students.

Now involved in two forms of literature, I had gained knowledge to accompany me in attempting to form chatterings with, not only the majority of the writing groups attendees, but I could also converse with the students and teachers who, likewise, adored the traditional novel. This proved an extraordinary turnaround in my life. By letting this shift persist, I gained a new set of friends to whom I can relate, I progressed massively in my writing, increased my confidence in which assisted me in showcasing my material on social media, joined online communities, gained acceptance into university and forged a new career path: not only do I wish to write in a wide variety of formats, I now wish to become a lecturer and a professor in the artform. Do you understand what I am trying to say? It has saved me wandering through life and falling through the cracks; in the end, my mental health would have worsened as each one of my failed attempts in crafting a successful novel would have pushed me over the edge. Additionally, it provided me with a community where I can feel secure to speak of my interests, and, be myself. If you can relate to such profound troubles — or, you’re alone, without a community, interests, or, are struggling to add something else to your marriage, this may work for you.

Literature isn’t simply inscriptions on paper, it is emotions, worlds, lives and much more which you can experience. Furthermore, it can be the remedy a shaky relationship/marriage needs. I know its outrageous to think that a book could heal the aforementioned, but hear me out. Now, I am not stating literature will cure a broken marriage that is soon to conclude, I am stating that it will bring an additional conversation piece to their lives. Think of it like this, the married pair yearn for something new and one of them chooses to read a novel. The other, curious to know what it is about, is suddenly intrigued to read it. When they can read it, they are full of admiration after finishing. This will conjure up raw discussions — guiding the two to speak of their dislikes and likes to the story. Accompanying this will be directions to other works. This will expand their interest in reading and increase, not only the fun chatterings they have been sharing, it will add to their chances in saving their partnership from growing into something too tedious to bear. Literature, in whatever form, can rescue numerous people from falling victim to their own darkened minds.

Here is another representation. I know a guy who resides in California. Recently, his relationship collapsed, leaving him a broken mess. Swiftly, he was without friends because she was sharing her friends with him. Despite this, he was not isolated. In his time of need, he turned to a comics appreciation group on Instagram I to am apart of. We were with him every step of the way. Albeit, we were in separate parts of the globe, but that did not stop him from confiding in us. How awesome is that? That is the endowment literature can provide — a trusting entity that gives rise to numerous friendships and possibilities. That is what literature did for me. It can also do the same for you. I will finish this section with a quote from a literary legend: “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald.

For this closing section of this composition, I will demonstrate why literature is significant for, not solely for our continuations, but society as a whole. Literature is the life source of the past, present and future — the connection between the timelines (albeit, the future is fictional, but it is an exploration that we find endearing to explore) and the origin to where the entertainment industry seeks out latest creations. Let me dig a little deeper. Imagine this, we wake up one morning to find all books/literature of all varieties have vanished; abruptly, all we have ever been used to, stimulating fresh material from our televisions, cinemas, theatres, radios, music and so on, will have disappeared. What would happen? Would we improvise the aforementioned? Would we be brave enough to attempt such feats? Maybe so, but it may not be as inspiring. What a terrifying scenario to conceive! Nonetheless, we can all acknowledge its importance to our lives and civilisations — it doesn’t take a genius to recognise it, try asking a parent who has to read a bedtime story to their children every night; surely, their ideas will eventually evaporate in time if such an occurrence was to arrive.

Unquestionably, the written word brings satisfaction, laughter, assurance and peace to all who wish to welcome it. Through our ages, literature has produced numerous works that have brought us happiness moreover turning our frowns upside down. Comedy acts/shows, whether on the radio, TV, film, or stage, have done exactly that. They have been celebrated for centuries; this would not have transpired without an initial scheme. As a writer myself (I am certain numerous writers who may/may not read this share a similar doctrine), it is a risk to begin projects, like the before-mentioned, without some sort of map. This is what literature does: it provides a blueprint for organisations/individuals involved with visual/performing arts to work with. Without a map, you’re diving into an event blind and have no approach in knowing if the words you’re about to speak will make the audience laugh. This is where scripts come in. This is where test shows come in. If the jokes fail to function, the jokes are labelled unnecessary. If the jokes work, they store them for the upcoming event(s). For instance, I will quote a known comedian who speaks of how he experiments his jokes before his performances: “One thing I found very interesting is how differently these conversations are among different groups of people. Single people between the ages of 18 and 25 view these topics in a much different light than, say, single people over 30. Or married people over 40. This gave me an idea. What if I could set up small shows to talk to very specific groups about these topics? What if I could do a show with half an audience of younger people and the other half is older married people? What if half the audience was single women over 30 and the other half were single men between 18 and 25?” -Aziz Ansari. I know you already may understand this, but I crave for more people to get involved; it can bring light to your mind where there is darkness. Let us persist.

For centuries, individuals have endured mountainous threats to their existences and nations. We, as a global entity, have not simply survived many perils — we have helped to encounter conflicts and aid ones who lacked the fortitude to do so. Almighty brutes who lacked compassion and only envisioned hurt as a future have fallen by the hands of those who wielded kindness. With these brave battles, potent words were presented to which assisted the ones who endured these dark times. These words can come in any form. They can come in speeches, music, poetry recitals etc — words form events worth recalling. To illustrate a speech, I will, as a British born citizen, highlight a speech that holds a significant space in British history: “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” -Winston Churchill. According to BBC’s article, WW2: Did Winston’s words win the war? “Churchill used emotive language, metaphor and powerful imagery, delivering his speeches with such authority that they strengthened the nation’s resolve during the darkest of days. He understood how to use words to let the listener’s imagination take over, transporting them to the scene of the battle. Churchill had mastered the art of alliteration, often repeating the same sounding words for maximum impact.” I wasn’t born until 1987, but imagining such a roaring expression exploding through one’s home within those chaotic periods creates no doubt that it spurred on all that was intended.

It is safe to assume that a world without music is a world without peace and charm. Music creates a definitive answer to ones who seek to lower mental disturbances; however, would it be naive to assume that music, to create such definitive peace and charm, is more memorable combined with lyrics? Some of you will disagree — and yes, there are some tremendous instrumentals out there. Though, I do treasure the moving words that construct the everlasting nostalgia we all enjoy revisiting. Lyrics in music, throughout history, have brought together several generations. In hardships, in love, in once-in-a-lifetime events, lyrics have united billions who will cherish these moments unendingly. To add on, here are some potent lyrics that have touched many hearts, expanded minds and transformed numerous attitudes. According to participants to Buzzfeed.com’s list and learningenglish.voanews.com, these lyrics do just that:

“Slow down, you crazy child. You’re so ambitious for a juvenile. But then, if you’re so smart, then tell me: Why are you still so afraid? Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about? You’d better cool it off before you burn it out. You’ve got so much to do and only so many hours in a day.” — “Vienna,” Billy Joel

“You know a dream is like a river, ever changin’ as it flows. And a dreamer’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes.” — “The River,” Garth Brooks

“Everything passes. Everything changes. Just do what you think you should do.” — “To Ramona,” Bob Dylan

“Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too. Imagine all the people, living life in peace, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will be as one.” — “Imagine,” John Lennon

According to the website, learningenglish.voanews.com, their article, Yoko Ono Named Co-Writer of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ describes the song’s message: “The song was released in 1971. It called for peace during the Vietnam War, and urged people around the world to live in unity. Its message, music experts say, has remained important and relatable through the years.” I have listened to the song myself copious times; nevertheless, it is certain, that it would not have had the same impact it did/does if Lennon produced it without lyrics. Like all these examples, literature, in many forms (some argue that lyrics are not literature at all, I disagree), have the power to unite, transform, cure and resolve internal and external conflicts infinitely.

To end this section, I shall quote a formidable poem: “You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.” — Maya Angelou

And so, we have concluded. As I write this, I am hunched over with weary eyes and aching back. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed constructing it. I also hope it has, not only highlighted the all-encompassing benefits and importance of literature, I hope it has brought forward fresh individuals to read, not only novels but comics, poetry (I realise I didn’t mention it as much, but it has its place all the same) and the many other available forms. It has been an honour writing this. Looking back, I realise what I endured putting this together. It has been challenging. It has been exhausting. However, none come close to, it has been enlightening. It has widened my appreciation for literature and made me look at the works I already have, and do not have, with an enlargened smile. Over the years, I have experienced groundbreaking graphic novels from Alan Moore’s Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Batman: The Killing Joke, to benchmark manga legends in Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and everlasting novels from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye to Harper Lee’s, ‎To Kill a Mockingbird‎. I have flown with Superman on the big screen, fought a big purple guy’s army in Avengers and helped save the world with 007. Literature, without it, none of the above would exist and life would be boring — wouldn’t you agree? I will leave you with this quote: “Without literature, life is hell.” Charles Bukowski.

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