What establishes Amy and Isabelle as literature?If literature deals with long known themes of human kind and presents them in ways that are innovative yet lasting, than how does this novel qualify?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess I am not entirely sold that the novel is "Literature."  I think that there is value in the work, but I guess I need to be sold on how the work actually is representative of "Literature."  This is probably where things become a bit murky because the actual definition of what falls into "Literature" varies and I am not sure if there is an absolute and totalizing definition of what "Literature" is.  It is difficult to engage in such a discussion without injecting some level of personal opinion into it.  With that in mind, I think that the subject matter of the work and the manner in which Strout develops the plot sounds more like "popular writing" more than a work of literary value.  I don't really see the work intertextually connecting to others in continuing a discourse that has been established in literature, nor do I see it seeking to broaden its own understanding to be included in a canon of literature.  I see it as a work that details the incidents of love, infatuation, secrets, and concealment.  I see it designed to evoke a popular reaction and a popular aspect to it more than one of a "literature" nature.  In this, I think that there has to be a greater discussion of what defines "Literature" and how this definition may or may not apply to Strout's work.

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Amy and Isabelle

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