What is common sense in litrature?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Common Sense is a major work of literature by the American colonist Thomas Paine published in that critical year of 1776 in which he plainly and openly challenges the British government and monarchy.  It is a primary source document from the American Revolution.  In short, he demands independence for the American colonies.  His most famous passage says:

"Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ' 'Tis time to part.'"

The first section is entitled "Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution," and here is a sample:

SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, helped to "work a change in the minds of men," according to George Washington.  It was a pamphlet which clearly and lucidly articulated the reasons why the Colonists needed to clearly break off from England.  Being a British subject himself, Paine's work was extremely compelling and was written in a style that distinctly laid out the sides in the issue.  Comparing King George to a "brute," indicting the British policy of control and taxation on the Colonists, and emphatically advocating the case for separation with lines such as "'Tis time to part," Paine's work occupies a central location in American Literature for it was one of the first works to advocate for the development of America's individual voice and its own sense of identity, realities that were motivating factors in the American Revolution.

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nusratfarah | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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In the denotative method, common-sense means the ability to think rationally or practically, and take decisions accordingly.

In literature, common sense stands for varied factors- assuming a meaning of a particular word, or to comprehend the sense of a narration of a literary text, or having a general knowledge about a certain genre which is being talked about. Actually, in literature, this term "common sense" suggests the contextual or background knowledge of an individual along with his or her quick perception of a literary text, be that a word, a phrase, a sentence or a whole text, without the use of any supporting external aid.

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