Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Healing the World Through Literature Essay

Literature has influenced our lives in many ways. One is the way we perceive the events around us. The media have always been telling and informing the public about wars. Instead of informing us about how we can heal the world, all we hear is whose fault it was as soon as a war breaks out. The question here is: How can literature help to heal the world in terms of war and peace? This is important because there are so many wars in the world and instead of fighting we can use them to help create peace and heal the world. We will then be able look back to the past and think how we can progress for the next time. It will also help us create peace by allowing everyone to understand each other. Thomas Hardy, Anthony Hecht and Muriel Rukeyser are three authors that help show how literature can heal the world. The first poem, Thomas Hardy’s â€Å"The Man He Killed† focuses on the senselessness and futility of war, where a man has killed another quite simply because they were fighting on opposing sides at war. It was written in the point of view of one of the soldiers who was enlisted in the infantry. In the opening stanza he states, â€Å"Had he and I but met by some old ancient inn, we should have sat us down to wet right many a nipperkin! † (Hardy 347) By this he means if they met outside of a pub, they would have enjoyed some drinks together, but because of the war, they are forced to shoot at one another. Then it explains how they met as soldiers in opposing sides and one had to die so they both shot each other, but the narrator shot killed the other. In the third stanza, he explains why he had to kill him. Literature could help us with war by displaying this poem. The poem shows how even when people just meet that because of a war, they are forced and required to kill another man instead of having peace. People fight in wars for all different reasons. Some people were born to join the army and be soldiers while others just join to get by in life with financial support from the army. In the lines thirteen through sixteen, towards the end of the poem the author is saying how both the men enlisted into the army because they were out of work, and they needed to sell their traps to get money, and now because of the war one of the men was killed unwontedly by another man who joined because he was out of work as well. In the second poem called â€Å"More Light! More Light! † by Anthony Hecht, it talks about two different stories in the poem. In the first story there is a man who was being charged for a crime he prays to his God he didn’t commit. He states, â€Å"I implore my God to witness that I have made no crime† (Hecht 349). He was being burned to death and one of the soldiers who was burning him because of his crime felt badly for the prisoner’s suffering. So he threw gun powder hoping it would catch fire and to end the prisoner of his misery but the gunpowder did not ignite, and the prisoner was burnt to death. â€Å"And that was but one, and by no means one of the worst; permitted at least his pitiful dignity; and such as were by made prayers in the name of Christ, that shall judge all men, for his soul’s tranquility† (Hecht 349). The second story is about three prisoners who were brought to the woods, two Jewish prisoners and one Polish prisoner. The German guards forced the Polish man to bury the Jewish men alive, but the Polish man refused to do it. So the German guards instead changed the roles, and the Polish man was shot in the stomach, buried up to his head, and was left there for three hours to bleed to death. The second story seemed to be much worse than the first because the Polish man was suffering and was only left there with his thoughts and prayers as he slowly died. â€Å"No prayers or incense rose up in those hours which grew to be years, and every day came mute ghosts from the ovens, sifting through crisp air, and settled upon his eyes in a black soot† (Hecht 350). Literature help with war and peace because this poem shows the past how the Jews and Polish men and women were tortured by the Nazis and war. And this poem can teach us how even during the darkest times of war some people like the Polish did not keep his dignity. And not be forced to kill another man because war, even if the result of not listening is your own death. In the third poem â€Å"Letter to the Front† by Muriel Rukeyser, talks about being a Jew in the twentieth century. This poem explains how Jewish people should be proud of being Jewish, and they shouldn’t hide it. The Jewish people went through a lot with World War II, with all the deaths and sufferings, but the Jewish population shouldn’t try to hide what they are. â€Å"Wishing to be invisible, you choose death of the spirit, the stone insanity† (Rukeyser 351). Hiding meant reducing God to nothing more than what you are. The author is saying that the Jews should be proud of who they are and what they believe in. To believe in God and pray for freedom to all people, and pray to live the impossible which can only happen with faith to their God. Not by hiding who they really are and their beliefs. Literature can help with War and peace by using this poem to show that belief in your God can help you get through any situation and not by hiding from your beliefs and who you truly are. Some people are already used to wars and violence that it doesn’t affect them. In order to find peace, we must first make an effort to understand all types of people. In terms of race, ethnicity, culture, values, religion, beliefs, etc. When people see life through someone else’s eyes they understand what they go through. That would be the only way to avoid violence. Literature can heal the world after devastation from war. Maybe one day we won’t have to worry about the war because there would be peace. Work Cited: Hardy, Thomas. â€Å"The Man He Killed. † Writing about the World. By Susan H. McLeod, John Jarvis, and Shelley Spear. Boston, MA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005. 346-48. Print. Hecht, Anthony. â€Å"More Light! More Light! † Writing about the World. By Susan H. McLeod, John Jarvis, and Shelley Spear. Boston, MA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005. 349-50. Print. Rukeyser, Muriel. â€Å"Letter to the Front. † Writing about the World. By Susan H. McLeod, John Jarvis, and Shelley Spear. Boston, MA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005. 351-52. Print.

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