How can literature be the mirror of life?
The statement that "literature is a mirror of life" may appear strange at first. One might ask the question how works of literature, where there is a clear sequence of action and an interesting story, can be the mirror of everyday life. Indeed, life is often boring and could feel pointless on many occasions. Literature, however, can be said to be the mirror of life, because it reflects and comments on aspects of things people encounter in their daily lives.
Even futuristic novels such as The Hunger Games can reflect life, despite the fact that its world is alien to the modern human being. Th main character, Katniss, struggles with issues like love, family, and death. These are familiar concepts to everyone who is alive today. Katniss's struggle reflects how many teenagers react to life's difficulties today. She is easy to identify with, although her world is alien, because she is human. She loves. She is afraid. She does not understand exactly how to handle the stirrings of first love.
The same is true when going centuries into the past. The play Hamlet by Shakespeare, for example offers not only the story of a prince and his dead father, but also how this prince is human. His reaction to his father's death is utterly human. He experiences grief an loss like any son who loses a father. When he realizes his father has been murdered, he is outraged and wants revenge, which is another human reaction. So, although the worlds of royalty and Shakespeare's time are alien to us, Hamlet's feelings are not. This is why Shakespeare's work can be regarded as relevant even today.
Aspects of life are reflected even in works of fantasy and horror. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the vampire is a creature of fiction. However, the feelings Mina experiences when Lucy dies or when Jonathan returns ruined from his visit to Dracula's castle are very human. As human beings, readers can identify with these feelings. As such, Mina is a reflection of life and how we experience it.
Poetry is perhaps the type of literary effort that best reflects life. It shows the reader how the poet sees life. The poet asks the reader to enter his world and share it with him. In fact, this is what any author does, regardless of the specific thing being written.
Literature holds up the mirror of other people and other lives to the life we as readers live. This reflection can teach, inspire, make us laugh, or horrify us. This is the beauty and the joy of reading.
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