What is the importance of literature to humankind?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This a fairly broad question and the responses you get will reflect that. I would say that the primary importance of literature is to help guide individuals and help to answer to human beings Tolstoy's two fundamental questions:  "Who we are and what shall we do?"  In my mind, I would apply both of these questions to literature in ensuring its value.  Works of literature that can answer both questions end up becoming quite powerful in addressing the human predicament.  In seeing characters in literature endure what we endure, suffer what we suffer, and battling through adversity in conditions similar to ours, I think that we gain a great deal of insight and understanding.  It is this importance that makes literature so profound and powerful.   The idea of being able to connect literature to our own lives and take potential answers from it is what makes literature so important to human beings.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team