Readers' Corner

The Impacts of Literature on Society

Delve into the multifaceted ways in which literature continues to shape and transform our society.

Recently, few fields have had as significant an impact on our world as literature. Many see it as the basis for all the arts, affecting every part of society. Its elements are found in music, films, fashion, religion, education, science, and even the gambling industry. In some ways, literary texts influence players on how to choose online slots AUS as well as other games and platforms in other climes. In short, literature is at the centre of the global popular culture.

Understanding the Concept of Literature

The term “literature” originated from Latin, where it meant “the use of letters” or “writing.” Over time, as Latin evolved into the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian), literature came to be understood as “knowledge acquired through reading or studying books.”

This definition raises concerns about what books qualify for reading or studying. This is where issues of canonicity come in. Something becomes canonical if cultural institutions like universities, schools and prize communities accept it. That raises another debate: what standards are these institutions using to access books worthy of study?

In a broad sense, any collection of work written by scholars or domain experts in any language about a period or culture is defined as literature. This includes but is not limited to prose, poetry, essays, dramas, fiction, literary works based on art, history, philosophy, religion and culture, legal and scientific writing.

Importance of Literature

Literature serves as a mirror of society, reflecting good and bad values of humanity and educating people on why those are good or bad. In mirroring society, literature educates about what happened in the past, informs behaviour in the present and predicts patterns for the future.

Factors That Influence the Impacts of Literature on Society

As literature aims to educate, it is crucial to provide a comprehensive understanding of its historical and societal influence, taking into consideration the following factors that shape its impact on our world:

  • The Society. Since society is made up of people, every one of its subsets has preconceived notions of what an idea, a concept, or a phenomenon should be.
  • The Text Under Consideration. The presentation style, the language used, and the cultural context or historical period in which a text is situated all significantly shape the extent of its impact.
  • The Reader Interacting with the Text. The reader has biases, opinions, unique experiences, exposure, and education that influence how they interpret and understand a text.

The Overall Effect of Literature on Society

As stated, literature has influenced our world significantly on many levels and in many areas. In the following paragraphs, you will discover some of these areas of massive impact.


Exposure to literature is the earliest way society teaches children and adults analytical skills by reading text to pick reoccurring themes, ideas and underlying concepts. People learn to see the world from different perspectives while engaging with literature, thereby learning about empathy.

This helps the people in the society understand one another as they see different facets and perspectives to existing problems. People express themselves through literature by writing their opinions on matters arising from their interactions with society.

Shaping of the Global Popular Culture

Some literary texts are so relevant today that they have become a part of widespread or mass culture. For example, the works of William Shakespeare and Homer have become a part of popular culture.

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is now synonymous with a love story with an impending tragic end, much like a Sakura stand in full bloom awaiting its inevitable fall.  Homer’s Odyssey is now used to define adventurous projects that will take extended periods to complete. More recently, following the popular television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, Games of Thrones, girls born around the world at the time of the production were named after several characters from the book, such as Khaleesi, Arya, and more.

Books have become sensations, ideas from literature have become a part of popular culture, and literary characters have become “real-life” celebrities.

Providing Information

The significant impact of literature on society lies in its ability to facilitate research aimed at identifying patterns, mapping thought processes, and elucidating prevailing social norms. Researchers and thought leaders conduct extensive investigations and meticulously document their findings, contributing to society’s understanding of various intricate phenomena, advancing scientific and technological progress, and demystifying complex processes and procedures.

As a result, modern research builds upon the foundation of previous literature. It follows the established guidelines and continually enhances existing methodologies, thereby learning from past mistakes. A prime illustration of this process is the field of genetics, where biologist and meteorologist Gregor Mendel, regarded as the father of modern genetics, introduced the principles of inheritance. Subsequently, after the discovery of Mendel’s work in 1905, scientists like William Bateson expanded and improved upon these principles, further advancing the field of genetics.

Elimination of Cultural Barriers

Literature has enabled learning about other cultures before interacting with them. This helps to break cultural barriers, remove preconceived notions about people and bring context to conversations. People went to war because they had differing opinions and beliefs on culture. An example is the American Civil War. One of the reasons for the American Civil War was the differing views on slavery.

Literature has eliminated misunderstandings like this because people can read about their differing cultures and understand one another before interacting. Opinions about cultures have context courtesy of literature. Society can now empathise when a certain demographic of people behave how they do because there is literature to back that behaviour.


The impact of literature on society is an ongoing conversation. The degree of influence cannot be measured in a few sentences because there are more subtle ways and even more obvious ways literature has shaped society. Even to the watchful eyes of experts, the sheer breadth of these impacts is overwhelming.

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