How English literature shapes student outlook

Wyatt Waters, Opinion Editor

It’s a sensation that everyone knows: as the final words of the novel pass under your eyes, an anxious energy swells, dredging up a million thoughts and emotions. Closing the cover of the book, those words continue to glimmer in your mind, and slowly a vague understanding begins to sprout. Such is the stimulating effect of the literature taught in Liberty’s classrooms, for it plants and nurtures the seed of insight into the flower of understanding.
Like a spotlight in a pitch black room, Liberty’s English Literature books reveal the nature, detail, and significance of essential human questions that find answers nowhere else. Between these works a breadth of topics unfurl, including revenge, objective versus subjective reality, and perceiving others with compassionate understanding. A truly inclusive art, literature speaks to a common humanity found in any person.
As useful as other subjects such as math and science are, there is no equation for morality, nor formula for the right emotion in a situation. Striving towards understanding complexity, works such as 1984 and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn enable each reader to question, qualify, and decide their own conclusions on the issue, something offered no where else.
The prominent cultural aspects of today, such as social media, challenge and expand the minds of students comparatively far less, yet enjoy far more attention time. Thus, more than ever, it is crucial that student’s English classes, and the literature they teach, empower students to ponder questions that reach far beyond their comparatively small world.
While social media certainly reveals something about human nature, literature alone holds the power to hold the mirror up to mankind, forcing readers to reconsider and reshape their perspective of the world.