Literature is one branch of study, which brings in a sense of mental development all by itself. When the noted American author Mark Twain stated that a man who has not read has not done anything in life, he clearly emphasized on the significance of the reading of literary texts.
In spite of literature being such a great subject, for many it tends to be a subject on the philosophical domain. They tend to completely miss out the connection with real life. However, it is real life that gets into a completely changed domain with the study of literature. Literature helps you to become a better human being with a lot more life than mere existence of mortals.
Why studying literature poses such problems:
Being a student of literature myself, I have seen people facing such problems, where they often complained that the subject is not quite related to real life. This is quite a natural comment, since there is no apparent connection with scientific development or technical aspects; hence it becomes a difficult domain to explore.
Thus, I would suggest some tips that would make this whole process of learning literature way more easier and better.
How to make studying literature easier:
- Reading of the text:
A general reading of the text is a must. This reading has to be done by having a completely neutral point of view. The text has to be read as a book that is negated from any other source, as a single piece of article. Once, it is a detached piece of writing without any manner of reference work did prior to the actual reading, the audience gets a neutral notion of the text.
This neutral vision is much required since this helps students to make a better decision regarding the text by themselves. They can feel the characters individually, and hence they will be able to make a study of their topic in an uninfluenced manner. This helps in better understanding of the text.
- Reading about the history of that period:
Literature has an innate connection with history, since the social history has always influenced the writing of literary texts. For any student who is reading the text it is very important that they should have a complete knowledge of the history of that period.
This studying of history, will give them a fair idea of the social conditions that was prevailing in those times at that specific place. This being automatically reflected in the novel or poetry, will help them to understand the proceedings of the incidents in the text.
A fine example can be seen in the novel Gone with the Wind. The novel is essentially a love story set at the backdrop of the civil wars of South America. While reading this novel, if a student has an idea of the civil wars that ravaged South America at that specific period, then studying the novel becomes way more easier. The student will be able to relate to the proceeding of the incidents in a historical manner.
- Textual reference work:
This is one work that every student of literature should religiously follow. Once a specific text by a particular author is read, a student should definitely read another novel by the same author.
This is extremely necessary because, the student after getting a fair idea of one specific text and its characters should try to read what the same author has tried writing in another book. This helps in better understanding of the first novel and thus a better analysis of situations and characters. Say a person who has already read Thomas Hardy’s The Return of The Native and Far From the Madding Crowd, will be able to make a comparative study of these novels, thereby enhancing his understanding of the subject.
- Connection of various author’s and books of the same period:
For a student of literature, it is extremely necessary that he or she interconnects various novels and their characters for a better study of the subject.
The history of literature is divided into various periods as per the social conditions of that age. Hence, there have been a host of writers in one specific age who have more or less written in the same strain. Once a student gets an idea regarding how all these writers have written, they will be able to make a comparative study of these writers helping them to understand the text as well as the situation in which it was composed better.
- Making special notes for the various genres:
Literature is one of the few subjects which can be classified into various genres, with one differing from another in every manner. For students, the whole understanding and learning process will be made easier if they make different notes for these different genres in various ways.
For novels and dramas, short notes should concentrate more on the social condition and evolution of characters, while for poetry, more stress should be laid on the tone of the poetry and author’s viewpoint.
Once a student can make different types of notes to satisfy different demands, studying them before the exam, or even compact studying becomes easier.
- Checking out sample questions:
This is the most important trick to learn the subject as well as attaining success in exams. Once, a student has a fair idea about what the question types are and how they are being asked, specially referring to which domain, they can easily sort out their areas of study.
These sample questions mentally prepare us for the exam thereby helping us to mentally highlight those domains which are important and helps maintain the uniqueness of the text.
This will help them in narrowing down their learning procedure to an extent. They will be able to concentrate their energy at a particular place.
- Making assignments:
Making projects are the best way to learn any subject from any stream. In this way, students will be able to make use of their personal knowledge, rather than presenting a whole document of referenced material.
When a student is left with a particular topic to make a project, there is immense liberty to incorporate personal viewpoints into that. Now, it is not practical to make assignments on every text that has been given. So students can prepare long notes on the texts that are there in his or her syllabus and work accordingly.
Since literature is a subjective topic, hence every viewpoint will be different from the other. In these long notes, there will be immense freedom for incorporating these points, along with other reference material such as comparative study of other texts, characters or any other thing worth mentioning. Hence, overall, this is one domain that is completely prepared for learning of the subject.
- Noting the parts of speech:
Literature is an apparently complex subject for no reason. It has a whole series of figures of speech, and various other grammatical aspects which make the language of this subject so beautiful.
However, as much as the language is beautiful, there is a whole set of complex notations that make this so pleasurable to hear. A student should definitely maintain notes regarding these figures of speech.
Each of these is different from the other, and hence it is quite natural for students to get confused. However, they should definitely know and note down the difference between all these parts of speech. This will not only make his or her understanding of the subject better, but also emphasize on the specific reasons as to why those figures are used.
These parts of speech are generally used to emphasize on specific aspects. Understanding of this makes the whole article or literary piece get a new dimension and students can relate to it in a better way.
- Making notes about archetypes:
In literary terms, archetypes imply a set of clichÃ©s, which are present in almost every text. Just like there is a set frame which has the hero, heroine, villain, quite similarly there are 2 types of archetypes that are generally character based and situational.
A type of character, or somewhere near that type, keeps recurring in almost every other novel. This does not necessarily have to be a villain; it can be a stock character as well. A student who wants to learn the subject in an easier and faster manner can make a list of such characters, so that during final revision this remembering becomes easier.
Such a list can be made for noting down circumstances as well, where students can note down certain conditions which might be similar in some other novels as well. Once, this compilation is done, learning of literature becomes way more easier. Thus, with a thorough understanding there can be a complete learning process integrated.
- Remembering quotations:
This is one work that is difficult yet very helpful in the long run. Once, a student remembers the quotations of different texts, especially certain important lines at certain critical positions, learning the subject becomes very easy.
Though this is time consuming, yet this can lead to immense benefit in the long run by connecting of different texts.
Hence, a student who is finding it difficult to learn this subject can definitely follow these tips to make learning faster and more interesting.