How is Literature Useful in the 21st Century?

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How is Literature Useful in the 21st Century? The utility of literature in any century, let alone the 21st Century, is difficult to define. One can certainly make a compelling argument that there are hordes of young people that escape high school and college without actually reading literature. Sure, students are frequently exposed to literature, but do they actually engage critically with it? Do they even know how to read it? Do they understand it? Answers to these questions, as well as others, ultimately impact how one answers the initial question: how is literature useful in the 21st Century? The brief point to be made here is that literature is only useful so far as it's understood and appreciated. Assuming one satisfies both criteria then there is no telling how important literature can be in one's life. The plain fact is, and as Italo Calvino noted, "Every reading of a classic is in fact a rereading" and "A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say." In other words, literature has resonance throughout one's life. Themes in literature are timeless and universal, relevant to any generation in any decade. As a result, literature can inform, instruct, inspire, console, etc. To explicate this idea, to make it less abstract, one should consider how relevant the following literary works are in today's times, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, A&P by John Updike and a Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The
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