Literature is able to touch and have a deep impact on people, and much like education is something that should be a large part in a person’s life and growth.
Bonin speaks of the way that his reading of Thoreau’s Walden has a meaningful impact on his life. It change the way that he looked literature and life in general, from the idea of living life deliberately . For me, a parallel experience came through reading the Bible. The Bible is often considered to be one of the most influential literary pieces, causing many people to make radical changes in their thought patterns and their lives. I was excited the first time I read the Bible, and it focused my head and my heart on the power of spirituality. This was something that I had learned when my first son was born, nearly 40 years ago, but had since neglected. I found that reading the Bible reignited old passions in me, and changed both the way in which I think and my habits. I began to re-attend church, focusing my time and thoughts on what is good and pure. I consider that spiritual literature such as the Bible can have a large impact on values, helping people to improve morally.
This is a fact that Bonin raises in his article that literature is often written for the purpose of imparting spiritual or moral lessons. He emphasizes the important of not evaluating literature solely from the critical outside perspective. Rather, the impact that the literature has on the reader must be considered and even allowed. It is the education that comes from extensive reading that allows people to develop strongly and fully, leading rich lives and aware of the different choices and opportunities that present themselves.
This was a concept that I tried to keep in mind as I read Dante’s Divine Comedy. I selected Dante’s Inferno Canto IV, the first circle of Hell, limbo as my selection . I don’t know whether I would have been as disturbed by what I read if I