“What is ‘the relevance of literature’ in the world of today? ” (Frye 27) Frye asks many rhetorical questions, such as this, throughout his essays to formulate a mutual connection with the reader. This connection that is between the author and the reader is a connection of the imagination. The part of the imagination that is being used my both parties are quiet different however. The author’s imagination input is, as Frye puts it, “the power to create. ” The reader’s imagination, then, is the “power to understand,” together forming the essentials of literature.
This common link is achieved primarily by archetypes, being the fulfillment of the reader’s “desire to associate” and make connections with. As humans, we seek this connection to literature and being able to connect and belong to something soon becomes the ultimate goal of literature all together. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a group of English schoolboys living in an uninhabited island seek a connection to the outside, objective world. They find a need to build shelters to remind them of the world they lived in that they had already familiarized themselves with.
In addition, they feel the need to continue their everyday routines such as raising their hand when answering a question. Ralph, when addressing to the other boys with solution as to what they were going to do on the island mentions, “we can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school. ” (Golding 44) This need to connect to the objective world is evident wherein there is a desire to connect, that soon becomes the need to belong. Literature fulfills this need through the extent of the imagination.
Frye begins by saying, “the world of literature is a world where there is no reality except that of the human imagination. ” (Frye 57) This is similar to our objective world, where we make reality what we believe to be reality. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the group of English schoolboys fear an imaginary beast that roams the island terrorizing the island. In reality, however, the beast is just an extent of the boys’ imaginations that has been brought into existence as a result of their behaviour. Simon, at a group gathering says, ‘maybe there is a beast….
maybe it’s only us. ‘” (Golding 80) The beast ultimately becomes suggested to be just a figure of the imagination, formed by the boys’ imaginations from being apart from their familiarized objective world. This “imagined world” then, has no reality within literature except for what the imagination perceives it to be. Elena has already mentioned conventionalism as being an evident factor distinguishing reality and literature wherein literature has no consistent connection with ordinary life. Instead, this vivid connection is made with the imagination.
When reading a piece of literature, connections are fallaciously believed to be made within reality, when actually it is made with our imagination. Frye earlier defined the imagination to be “the world we want to have. ” Therefore, this signifies that literature reflects a world that we desire, which doesn’t necessarily mirror reality. Frye later defines imagination as the power of constructing possible models of human experiences. Therefore, it is through experiences that we enhance our imagination to create literature.
Experience is a broad word including the experiences of the literary world. Frye agrees that it is the literary experiences that have a greater value than experience gained within life when he says “no matter how much experience we may gather in life, we can never get the dimension of experience that the imagination gives us. ” (Frye 61) Frye provides the example of Shakespeare, the writer of numerous plays depicting different shades of human emotion- from comedies to tragedies to exemplify this concept.
Shakespeare couldn’t possibly have experienced, in reality, the guilt of killing a king as in Macbeth nor could he have experienced the passionate love resulting in an untimely death, as in Romeo and Juliet. Despite this lack of realistic experience, Shakespeare manages to create literature; the reason for this being that his literature wasn’t based on realistic experience, but rather literary experience. Literature, then, is a concrete world of immediate experience, where experience is made into reality.
The limit of literature is imagination, which exceeds the capabilities of our objective world. Frye says, “The real realities, so to speak, are things that don’t remind us directly of our own experience… but are such things which are bigger and more intense than anything we can reach, except in our imagination which is what we’re reaching with. ” Ideally, Frye is supporting his earlier point of literary experience having a greater influence on successive literature, and imagination being the idealistic tool to attain this literary experience.
Relating back to Frye’s overall essay statement, literature is an extent of the imagination going beyond our objective world, creating a work for our imagination to extend into. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.