There are many important aspects of literary pieces which very much influence a person—this is mainly due to the theme which is contained within the literary pieces. Themes are known to be universal facts of life which transcend time, culture, background, and even gender and age of all humanity. It is through themes of any literary work that truth about life is both explicitly and implicitly foretold—no matter how shallow or even taboo it may seem.
Another great and important thing about any literary work is that because of the elements contained therein, any reader or any audience would have a moment of introspection on him- or herself and ponder on his or her own life—the frivolities and seriousness of a person is delved into by the person him- or herself and he or she is left with further understanding and conclusion about life—and all of that happened just because he or she read a short story or poem or even watched a play.
Alice Walker’s Everyday Use In Alice Walker’s short story, Everyday Use, the main characters are a family, and unlike the usual formulaic stories, there is really no annoying or infuriating antagonist. What the readers are left to judge is the usual contrast of two sisters—Dee, a very worldly and beautiful African-American who is in denial of her background, and Maggie, a very reserved and kind lady who has physical deformities due to the burns she received when she was young (Walker 23-24).
The story is centered on a quilt which is reserved for Maggie but which the spoiled Dee wants. Maggie amazingly wins in the end and she is left owning the quilt. While the story may seem so simple and straight-forward, there is actually a deeper background to it most especially because of the theme it presents. The family belongs to the African-American race, and the author, being one herself, actually presents a theme on the importance of racial background and even racism brought upon by a person to him- or herself.
Maggie and Mama are simple individuals who revel in the importance of the quilt—that it is a history of their family and even of their race; important pieces lovingly sewn together and which should be used “everyday” as a reminder of the history. Yet, Dee, who is very self-absorbed, wanted a quilt of such great background when she herself is denying her own lineage. She even wants to use the quilt for display purposes only. This theme on how we should be proud of our race and background no matter how other people looks at a supposedly “inferior race or culture” is an eye-opener to me.
It should serve as a reminder that we, as members of the human race, are all humans and should treat each other equally and this realization is what ultimately influences me. There is naturally disgust as to how can a person be ashamed of his/her own background and even treat family members who exalt their culture and heritage with such demeanor. Gwendolyn Brooks’ We Real Cool Brooks’ very short poem is in the usual sing-song melody and rhythm, and yet it is unusual due to its grammatical context and free-verse style.
The poem can be considered as an experience of the persona, and while the title seems to be alluding to the fact that the addressee or the readers should look up to the person because he or she is “real cool,” there is actually an underlying atmosphere of sarcasm and irony. While the persona is saying that he or she and people like him or her are “real cool” at the end of the poem, he or she declares that they “die soon” (line 8). The poem’s theme centers on one thing—that is, the general or common way or form of thinking or perception of people (most especially with adolescents).
In my opinion, there is a common perception or attitude that “coolness” may be interpreted as cutting classes or drinking, but it actually leads to deeper and further things like shattered dreams and future or even early death. What the poem is trying to tell the readers is the fact that “coolness” is not defined by outrageous and life-threatening acts. I believe that being cool is not about the foregoing of the importance of the future or deliberately disobeying laws—it is about being responsible for one’s self and actions. Rick Najera’s You Know How to Whistle, Don’t You?
Of all the three literary pieces analyzed in this essay, Rick Najera’s short drama is perhaps the most disturbing and thought-provoking. It centres on a prostitute from Cuba who is convincing a client (or the audience) to pay her and she can do things “efficiently” (Najera). In her short and moving monologue, the girl acts and chronicles her life, her views, and her attitude. The monologue ends with the girl telling the client that he can have her “for free” and with the last lines of “Cuba Libre” which means “Free Cuba” (Najera).
The whole monologue consists of how the girl is and how she thinks, but the last part of the monologue is what makes any reader ponder deeply about life and the injustices of life. During the first part of the play, she wanted money for her services, but at the last part, she tells the client (or audience) that she can do it for free as it will give her the temporary release from her sorry state and free her from the problems that she is in—those problems are the political and economical turmoil which Cuba was facing.
I think that this literary piece was more on the effects of the political upheavals on a personal life—which makes me think that anything happening around to a person or in the society ultimately affects everyone; and just because other people are safe in their zones or places because they are well-off does not mean that they do not have to be concerned. I think, in fact, people who are more well-off should be concerned since any societal issues would affect everyone in the long run—I know that is affects me.
Conclusion As what was stated in the introductory part of the essay, literary works are very important since it makes the person think, ponder, and reflect, and that reflection or introspection is the most vital influence of any work. Influences brought upon what we read, hear, or see are very life-changing and refreshing since they give us a different angle or view point on a mediocre work or futile efforts.Literature is meant to do that—to make us better individuals for a better world.
Works Cited Brooks, Gwendolyn. “We Real Cool. ” Poets. Org. 2009. 22 July 2009. <http://www. poets. org/viewmedia. php/prmMID/15433>. Najera, Rick. “You Know How to Whistle, Don’t You?. ” The Pain of the Macho and Other Plays. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press, 1997. Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. Ed. Barbara Christian. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1994. 23–38.