The society we live in today is shaped and influenced by many aspects of life such as tradition, culture, laws, and communication. Together, all these factors make up a group of people all working towards a common goal, with similar interests. These people are able to learn and grow from the people and aspects of life that surround them. A form of communication, known as literature, probably has one of the biggest impacts on our society today. Literature allows people to express their thoughts and feelings, no matter what they are, either through a fictional or non-fictional piece of writing.
Therefore, society has no choice but to listen to and accept these thoughts, and very often, become influenced by these ideas. Literature plays a very important role in shaping and understanding our society today. Throughout history, many pieces of literature have been written to portray how the author believes society should be, hopping that maybe society will agree with and even change their views. One such novel is The Scarlet letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Hawthorne believed that a woman who commits adultery should be put to shame and should where an “S” on her shirt so it is known to the public what she had done. Obviously, something like that wouldn’t happen in society today. However, it is true that women are embarrassed and frowned upon for acting in such a way. And, on the other hand, men very often get away with such an act, and are still looked at in the same way by society. Authors very often write about how they believe society should be, or will be in the future.
After reading about these idea and thought, society may subconsciously try to turn them into reality. The novel 1984, by George Orwell, written earlier in the 20th century, and talks about how society will be in the year 1984. To his audience he was thought to be crazy. The technology and way of life he spoke about was absolutely unbelievable, and only few people believed that anything he spoke about was possible. But, as it turns out, society in the year 1984 wasn’t too different from what he predicted.
Many novels have been controversial in society as well, some to the point of being banned from bookstores and libraries. Very often, authors write about there own lives through a character in their novel. By using such a method of writing, the author is writing about how society really is, from his/her point of view. This can sometimes cause problems, as with The Catcher in the Rye, which was banned for an extended period of time, because society couldn’t handle being criticized in such a way.
However, it was in fact reality, and it only took time for society to realize this, and put the book back on the shelf. The fact that a simple piece of writing can effect a huge society of millions of people in so many ways is amazing. Starting at the pre-school years, children are read to and are taught to read because of how much one can learn from literature. Novels open up ones mind to many new ideas and can sometimes show you a whole new perspective on life. Literature plays one of the biggest roles in our constantly changing society.