Why should literature be studied and how can you prove its importance?

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Literature” is a general term meaning communication in writing across time.  As in all “should” questions, the essence is the value of any human action or endeavor.  To study literature means to learn the ways the literary communication functions.  Just like a child who takes an alarm clock apart to see how it works, the literature student is dissecting the body of work to discern the subtleties of its structure, its psychological connections with humans, and its connection with large ideas.  The “value” of doing so lies in the “value” of understanding human communication itself – do we want to know “what makes it tick” or are we content to let it affect us without understanding why or how?  If we try to give some sort of commercial or product-oriented value to it, we are mistakenly assigning a commodity value to it, far removed from its literary purpose for existing.  So, in simple terms, we study literature to absorb it on a superior level, just as we would study a recipe to enjoy food on more than a nourishment level.  Its importance lies in its value as a receptacle for human wisdom and understanding.

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