The Impact of the Internet on Contemporary Literature
Literature basically is everything that has ever been written. Anything from the earliest poems of Homer, to today’s web pages, can be considered literature. But for a specific sense, there are various kinds of literature. Literature can be written in a specific language, like English Literature or be written by a specific culture, such as African Literature. But literature really means more than printed words and the internet certainly is a part of literature. I should note that the word literature comes from the French phrase belles-lettres, which means “beautiful writing”. When a piece of work is called literature, it is usually considered a great work of art. The internet literature does not necessarily have to be this way for the fact that no one controls the internet literature. In the following essay I am going to speak about the impact of the internet on literature of nowadays.
There are two main classes of literature which are also present on the internet: fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is writing that an author creates from the imagination. Authors may include personal experience, or facts about real people or events, but they combine these facts with imagined situations (Moran, 45). In non-internet literature the project undergoes at least some sort of censorship in terms of what words can be used, yet the internet allows the authors to put anything they desire on the web site and enjoy it. Most fiction is narrative writing, such as novels and short stories. Fiction also includes drama and poetry. Nonfiction is factual writing about real-life situations. The principal forms of nonfiction include the essay, biography, autobiography, and diary (Browner, 90). The internet presents a new forms–internet pages, or internet books.
People read literature for a variety of reasons. The most common reason for reading is pleasure. People read to pass the time, or for information and knowledge. Through literature, people meet characters they can identify with, and sometimes find solutions for their own problems. With literature, a person can often understand situations they could not otherwise understand in real life (Koehler, 28). Often, just the arrangement of the words can be enjoyable, just as a child likes the sound of “Ring Around the Rosie”, even though they might not understand what the words mean. There are four elements of literature: characters, plot, theme, and style. A good author has the ability to balance these elements, creating a unified work of art. The characters make up the central interest of many dramas and novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. A writer must know each character thoroughly and have a clear idea about each ones look, speech, and thoughts. The internet literature is not difficult to create for the fact that unlike “traditional” literature the internet literature requires minimal start up costs (Moran, 47). And because reading usually involves convenience, at some point of time one would not be surprised to see convenient electronic devices that could be transported anywhere and would download books from the internet and present them in digital format.
Motivation is the reason for characters actions. A good writer will be sure that the motives of a character are clear and logical. The internet writers do not have to be this way, they are not controlled and they hardly risky anything by publishing online. Setting is where a character’s story takes place. The plot is built around a series of events that take place within a definite period. It is what happens to the characters. No rules exist for the order in which the events are presented. A unified plot has a beginning, middle, and an end. In literary terms, a unified plot includes an exposition, a rising action, a climax, and a denouement, or outcome. The exposition gives the background and situation of the story (Browner, 93). The rising action builds upon the exposition. It creates suspense, or a reader’s desire to find out what happens next. The climax is the highest point of interest, also a turning point of a story. The denouement is the conclusion. The theme is the basic idea expressed by a work of literature. It develops from the interplay of character and plot. A theme may contain morals, to warn the reader to lead a better life or a different kind of life. The internet literature does not have to be this way at all because no one controls it. The write take minimal risk in terms of investment, yet possibly can find readers from all over the world, which can pay for the e-book and download it to their own computers, is very high (Moran, 49).
A serious writer strives to make his work an honest expression of sentiment, or true emotion. They avoid sentimentality, which means giving too much emphasis to emotion or pretending to feel an emotion. A writer of honest emotion does not have to tell the reader what to think about a story. A good story will direct the reader to the author’s conclusion. Style is the way a writer uses words to create literature. It is difficult to enjoy a story’s characters or plot without enjoying the author’s style (Browner, 98). The style of an author is as important as what he is trying to say. Point of view, or the way a story is presented, is another part of style. A writer may tell a story in the first person, using the pronoun I, as though the narrator were a major or minor character in it. Or, the writer may use the third person method, in which the narrator stands apart from the characters and describes the action using such pronouns as he and she. There are two types of third person views: limited and omniscient. In the third person limited point of view, the narrator describes the events as seen by a single character. In the third person omniscient, or all knowing, point of view, the narrator reports on what several characters are thinking and feeling. Reading is an intently personal art. There are no final rules for judging a piece of writing. Often, people’s judgment of a work can change as taste and fashion change. Yet the classics continue to challenge readers’ imaginations and give ageless advice. Shakespeare will most likely be as popular a hundred years from now as he is today. That is power of literature. Literature is timeless (Moran, 53).
It should be noted that literature can have many and different values on a person and it is the internet that allows literary values to be delivered to the audience without any barriers. It is all depending on the story and the value or moral issue the author wants, you, the reader to get out of it. The value literature had on me was actually hard to put into words. But to understand the value of literature you must know the definition of value and literature. Value has many meanings but there is two that relate (Browner, 102). Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor and a principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable. Literature is a body of writings in prose or verse. Literature produces value because it is basically an analysis of an experience or situation (Koehler, 30). I got a different value out of each story. With Mark Twain’s The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn it showed me that one does not have to be civilized or conform to the ideas of society to become cultured or mature. With Huck Finn he ran away from everything that was considered civilized (Moran, 58). He had nothing and really did not want anything. But at the same time he experienced and matured living dangerously. This made me value Huck’s adventure and take it as my own. Huck proves his maturity when he comments on how the king and duke dupe the villagers into believing that they are the dead man’s brothers, and Huck says, “I never see anything so disgusting.”(Twain 163) Even though the king and duke commit an awful act on the villagers he still feels sorry for them when they get tarred. Huck comments, “Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.”(Twain 225) In William Faulkner’s Barn Burning it told of a man named Abner Snopes who burned barns when upset or mad. This was his way of getting back at them. “Barn Burning” has two very evident struggles (Browner, 105). Abner oppresses his family just as the upper class has oppressed him. “Barn Burning” to me is based on misdirected anger. Which is basically happening in these days. For example, a teenager and his parents have it out, he leaves, and now his anger is directed toward anything in his pathway. “Barn Burning” has a value in that it shows in life that people actually misdirect their anger. Such as in the school shootings and bomb threats that have occurred in the past couple of years (Koehler, 33). Just like Abner Snopes felt like an outsider to the upper class, so did the students who committed these violent acts. In “The Swimmer”, it made me value life and what it brings. Because if your not careful or you do not watch out it will past you up without notice (Browner, 109). As with “Everyday Use”, one of the daughters did not value who she was or whom she was because she was going out looking for her history. Which she already had at her fingertips.
In conclusion I would like to note that reading all of the literature which colleges and universities assign to their students involves very high costs to the society in terms of paper consumption and time wasting (that involves going to the library, or to the book shop, etc). The internet and the ability to download the books from online to one portable device would reduce the costs, save the trees, and will make people more efficient. I realize that there are a lot of things that we as people in this society take for granted. Literature has made me value a lot of experiences and situations so far and I enjoy holding the paper book in the evening preparing for the next day, yet I do not protest against the use of the digital technology to create digital books that would contribute not only to the efficiency but also to the reduced costs to the whole society.