Why is it important to study the content of a literary text?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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It is important to study the content of a literary text for many reasons. 

First, if you want any level of comprehension, you will have to look over a text very carefully. Texts often yield treasures only to those who will read carefully. In this respect, it is important to read great texts many times. Each rereading will give new insights. This is called the hermetical circle. 

Second, since texts are written (often times) in a different context and time, it takes extra effort to understand what it's saying. For example, reading Sophocles's Oedipus Rex is not easy. We are dealing with ancient Greece. We are over two thousand years removed. Customs, worldviews, and sensibilities are different. Only by reading carefully will we appreciate what is going on. 

Finally, when we study texts, they become a part of us. We may even change. In this regard, we must not diminish the power of words.