The Importance of Literature in the Shaping of National Consciousness

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Literature is part of knowledge in human society. It has been considered as an important element in the shaping of a nations school curriculum by setting examinations on it. This test and examinations shape the students on their writing skills, as well as on how they analyze books. Literature as a field of human endeavor is so beneficial to the nation, because it is among the few disciplines in any nation that receive awards that are prestigious in the Nobel Prize award. These prizes bring fame and international respect to a nation.

Literature broadens the nation’s intellectual horizon, as the nation leans more about societal and individual experiences, the fears, joys, the aspirations, and the pain of the people. For example, the play by Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the sun, explains the issue of segregation and racism that was experienced in the society of America in the past; the book by Chinua Achebe, “Things Fall apart,” explains the clash of the culture of Africans. The poem by Jamaican Claude McKay, “If we must die,” was written regarding the oppression of blacks and racial discrimination by the white in America.

A nation can preserve the culture of its citizens through literature. Moreover, the study of literature and writing works like plays, poem, novels and short stories, creates an avenue in which the culture of a nation is preserved for the generations to come. For example in Jamaica, Old Story Time, by Trevor Rhone, is an embodiment of various aspects of the culture of Jamaican. According to oral literature the writing of Louise Bennett-Coverley, express the culture of Jamaica and preserves it.

Literature and language goes together. Therefore, for a nation to increase in the passes in the examination of English language, it should make literature compulsory in schools. This will improve the beauty of the nation’s language seen in the literature written in it. In addition, reading literature helps a nation to sharpen their language skills.

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