Questions about Literature

Q8. How important is the study of literature in individual/ethical development? In What Ways?

When I first came across this question, the word “fairytale” popped into my head. It is a usual thing to associate fairytales with individual/ethical development because we are often told how some fairytales demonstrate some of the morals of life. Yet, whether these morals are reasonable is another story. For instance, while Pinocchio can teach us to be honest, Snow White can teach female to be obedience to male.

Other types of literature, such as fables, folktales, can also contribute to our individual/ethical development. For example, The Ass in the Lion Skin, from Aesop’s fable, can teach us “Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away”, or it can teaches us to be smart about disguising. Moreover, Journey to the West can teach us to be brave and courageous, or it can teach us that female is detrimental to ones success.

I think it is difficult to judge if literature has a positive or negative influence. But you can learn what the society expects of you, even if you don’t necessarily agree, since literature can reflect the explicit and implicit values in the society. In addition, understanding these values can us to develop ourselves in a way that fits in the society. Thus, I think literature can be important in individual/ethical development.


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