April 9, 2009
By Ellen Ruppert SILVER, Culver, Indiana
Ellen Ruppert SILVER, Culver, Indiana
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Using the word “thou,” showering once a year, and dressing up at airports are all things that were once practiced religiously no longer a necessity of today’s ever-changing world. Extinction is part of the natural evolution of our world. It is the cycle that claimed the dinosaur and the dodo bird, bell bottoms and speakeasies. However, if I could wave my hands in a circular motion, waft in the presence of the almighty and save one thing from this vicious cycle it would be literature. For through literature, we as a society can form ideas and practices that never before crossed our minds. A fountain of questions, ideas, youth, true beauty, love, lust, and anything and everything found on the complex palette of human emotion and thought leaks through the pages of literature marinating our brains in the idea that there is so much more. Our world is a place of broken molds and shattered glass ceilings. Grant it Gossip Girl and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants probably had nothing to do with it, but the likes of Socrates, Thoreau, and Twain did. Whether pondering philosophy on the shores of Walden Pond or learning about how to be a true friend with Huckleberry Finn, literature can take us to places and thoughts just out of our reach. For literature tests the limits of our souls and the direction of our hearts simply through words splattered in ink accordingly onto paper. It is the heartbeat of human thought pumping ideas into our ever-changing philosophies. To save literature from extinction I would ask the world where it would be without works of fiction and fact that inspired the great thinkers of our time and those before us. Where would we be if Shakespeare never asked, “To be or not to be?” Where would we be if Gatsby never yearned for the green light, or if Atticus Finch never stood up for equal rights in a sweaty southern courtroom? To erase all forms of literature from society would be to erase advanced thought. For because of its history with the world, the relationship it has with society, and the utter importance of it in our culture, literature would never become extinct in a sane world. In “Ulysses” Tennyson states,
“We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
We can no longer set out on epic voyages to discover new land on earth. But, literature has given us the courage to realize our strengths, put aside our weaknesses and like Ulysses stretch to the horizon, to take “the road less traveled by,” to raise our sails and never look back. Literature is a vessel that knows no barriers; it is the physical evidence of the development of the human brain. For without literature our minds would forever remain within the molds of society, trapped in a set pattern. Knowing not of the thoughts of those that came before us would constrict us beyond belief. For literature is an outlet to the world, a window into our souls, and an inspiration to the next great mind.

Gossip Girl - Cecily Von Ziegesar

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

Hamlet- William Shakespeare

To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee

The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ulysses- Alfred Tennyson

The Road Not Taken- Robert Frost

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