|Language and Thinking|
Literature has emerged as the art of storytelling available to literate, educated and motivated people who read as entertainment, education and adventure. Stories fall under several categories that appeal to different aspects of the mind such as science fiction, fable, allegory, romance, philosophical, dream, visionary novel, fantasy, sexual, action, adventure, and war.
You could argue that there a limited number possible stories. A novel is an extended story that may involve many people and describe events that occur over many years. The character development in a novel reveals how humans affiliate and how individual needs and tendencies conflict with group interests. Good novelists are the celebrities of literature. All novelists are storytellers but some are more erudite and insightful than others. Some reveal human nature; others invent fantasy natures that distract and entertain. If you survey world literature, you find repetitions of and variations on a few themes.
If you are writing an epic novel or movie script, plot configurations based on the hero’s journey will be useful. You can add characters in any context you choose and develop your own ideas of progression from the ordinary world, through ordeals to transcendence and altruistic beneficence. Even ordinary plots that frequent novels and movie scripts tend to repeat elements of the hero’s journey.
In simpler plots, the hero is challenged by adverse events and antagonists; after a struggle, the hero triumphs, emerging with more understanding and compassion. The hero often has male status, but females, of course, can also be heroes. In the romantic legends, females inspire males to become heroes.
Literature of the past recorded, influenced and sometimes determine cultural evolution – a potent force in human societies. Mishra reflected on cultural evolution in Europe and the US in the 20th century:" Coming of age during and after the progressive era, when intellectual argument and political activism promised to reshape America’s future, critics took it for granted that literature was among the main signs of the times, and subject to the inquiring gaze of history and politics. In this presumption, they were supported not so much by the Marxian ideologues of the 1930s as by the great realist novelists, from Stendhal to Tolstoy and Mann, who could not have written their most mature works without grappling with the political and moral challenges of their day. Ideas possessed a real urgency for these writers. It helped, too, that their societies were in ferment; that the bourgeois class, to which most writers and readers of literary fiction belonged, was deeply involved or implicated in major socioeconomic conflicts; and that politics wasn’t something elected politicians and unelected corporate elites settled among themselves. "
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