What similarities do all works of literature share?

Similarities that all works of literature share include that they all are means to convey stories. Literature seeks in some way or another to educate, such as by passing down historical information from generation to generation or breaking down complex texts and ideas for students. Modern literature seeks also to entertain.

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Despite the variety of literature available across the world, all literature has certain concepts in common. All forms of it strive, in their own way depending on their given medium, to shine light on the world. The primary role of literature throughout history has been to tell stories, a role that encompasses all types of literature, from a book of poems by Basho to a collection of essays by David Sedaris, from a novel by Cervantes to a historical tract by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Telling stories is, after all, a commonality shared by all human cultures, so it’s not surprising storytelling has such a prominent role in literature.

Another way all literature is similar is in its capacity to educate. In the BCE world, writers and thinkers like Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and Confucius recorded their thoughts for their contemporaries, but generations of people have been able to access their thinking. Historians such as Herodotus and Sima Qian were some of the world’s first historians, and their recorded works are some of the most important pieces of literature in the world.

While in earlier eras, literature was accessible mainly to elite members of society, in the modern world it is accessible to all. Literature has evolved to have more uses as entertainment for the masses; novels, plays, comic books, and children’s books have intrinsic value not only as literature but also as a way for humans to spend some of their leisure time. For some people, the role of literature is a complex one; it can educate as it entertains, and vice-versa.

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