The term literature can be applied to a range of written works in varying forms, such as poems, novels, novellas, dramas or short stories. Within these forms, a work of literature may fall into one of many genres, such as romance, tragedy, or comedy, for instance.
The list of genres today is extensive and includes every possible kind of writing. As a whole literature has a range of aims or functions. These aims range from simple pleasure to providing information and instruction.
One of the aims of literature is to please and entertain the reader by providing attractive plots, identifiable characters and the description of beauty, suspense or whatever the subject may involve.
- Imagination and Literature
Another aim is to capture the reader's imagination by presenting him with places, characters or events unlikely to be present in reality. This kind of literature allows readers to escape from reality.
- Instruction and Literature
Some literature aims at informing or instructing readers about other countries, traditions, cultures, or religions the reader would not normally have access to. Often literature uses parables to instruct its readers in ethical or moral terms.
- Compassion and Literature
There are times when a certain historical even, such as a war, for instance, may be brought into a far better perspective by way of a novel than a text book could hope for. Describing the emotions, feelings and sentiments as they affected individuals at the time is likely to induce greater compassion in the reader.
- Human Values and Literature
No human value or belief can develop out of a vacuum, but grow out of experiences and knowledge. Literature aims to fill that vacuum by providing readers with examples of different values, beliefs, experiences and meanings throughout written history they may not otherwise be able to find.