Literature can be very helpful to society provided it is studied, or applied in a positive manner, but it can be very detrimental to society if what is contained within it is used with malice. For this discussion I will be focusing on how literature is helpful to society. You may choose to take the opposing side, but I have been asked to give positive remarks here. I can think of no better way to illustrate the point of how literature can help society by discussing a project that I was very recently involved with that made a huge impact on society. The project was called THE BIG READ and it was implemented by The National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The project was developed as a result of a 2004 study by The NEA which revealed that "literary reading" in America was/is declining rapidly amoung all groups of people, but moreso at a disturbing rate among the young.The wonderful thing about all of the novels that were chosen to be part of The Big Read Project is that each one has so much to offer to its reader. Whether it be a look at racism, the casualties of war, poverty, the class structures that exist, faith, or lack there of, death, immigration, censorship, survival, the past, the present, the future, love, and even hate, EVERY great piece of literature is didactic. There is always a lesson to be learned from each good novel. Whether we choose to learn that lesson is up to us, but the potential is ALWAYS there.
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