Blogs

Introductory Blog (25 points)

In class on the first day, I asked you to think about and write down your opinion on the intersection of politics and literature (literature broadly defined: literary texts, films, TV shows…cultural products in general). Paste here, as a response to this prompt, what you wrote in class. Resist the urge to alter what you wrote, and remember that there are no right answers here. But we’ll use these initial reactions to chart, by the end of the semester, what we’ve learned. We’ll gauge any changes in our sense of whether and how literature can be political.

Concluding Blog (100 points)

While the introductory blog can be loose, hypothetical, and speculative, the concluding one should be reflective and much more fleshed out, and it is due the Monday of Finals Week (May 11). Think about what we’ve discussed in this class, and use your knowledge of how literature and politics interact in order to provide support for your opinions. Do you, at the end of the semester, think what you did at the beginning? Do you believe literature can be or should be or always is political? Do you believe it’s just entertainment? Does it depend on the kind of literature? Seek out your Introductory Blog, and respond to it with your Concluding Blog. Remember to use quotes and examples where it will help, and cite your sources.

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91 thoughts on “Blogs”

  1. Literature, as well as art in general, does not exist inside some sort of vacuum that is unaffected by the outside world. Though literature can depict worlds that do not and can not exist, the world in which it was written is very much real, and the authors exist in that world. It is impossible to be completely unaffected by politics and agendas within the society and this shows through in the literature and art. Every piece of art has some sort of meaning to its creator. Even deliberately absurd art pieces are made that way for a reason. It is possible that the author may not even realize the political messages their writing is sending, because the message might be so ingrained in them that it just comes naturally.

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    1. Well said, and you share the beliefs of the late Edward Said, who wrote in his book Orientalism that “no one has ever devised a method for detaching a scholar from the circumstances of his life, from the fact of his involvement (conscious or unconscious) with a class, a set of beliefs, a social position, or from the mere activity of being a member of society” (136).

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  2. Question: What do you believe the relationship between politics and literature is, or is there even a relationship?

    Yes I do feel like there is relationship between them, and it has an effect on literature or any type of art like movies and tv. I do believe this because think about how certain things are hidden or exploited by media because of politics. Certain movies portray race a certain way of being and living because of the way politics portray them. Politics know that art in general is the publics way of getting entertainment, and what better way to put the politics ways of thinking than to put them hidden in our entertainment. I don’t know what else to write without doing any research or refreshing my mind on politics. This entry has been proofread, but has not had anything added to it after our class.

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    1. “hidden in our entertainment”…nicely put! This is one of the things we’ll talk about this semester, the political messages in texts that don’t seem obviously political at first.

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  3. Yes, I believe politics and literature are connected in one way or another.
    Take for example the recent film “American Sniper” this movie had a lot of political undertones. Now this being said this movie is not causing a great influence on our political culture, but it can affect or change peoples perspectives on politics and government.
    Since literature is something most people are in contact with weather it be social media, newspapers, online, magazines, etc. Everyone reads some type of literature which can influence their opinions on any number of topics such as politics.

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    1. I like the distinction you draw between “causing a great influence on our political culture” and “affect[ing] or chang[ing] people’s perspectives.” We’re going to see exactly that distinction later in the semester: literature that has immediate impact vs. literature meant to make us think differently in slower ways.

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  4. Modern literature and art can in have an effect on people, however in our modern day and age the flooding of the media with these ethical and moral dilemmas, coupled with the shortening attention span of the average American and the lack of good faith Americans have in the media has drastically limited its effectiveness.
    In 2012 over 300,000 “new titles and editions” were published according to a Bowker report. In books many people read to escape not to learn or be awakened or have an epiphany. With the vast options of reading material one can pick and choose the book they want to read to ensure that it follows their political or ideological thoughts. Generally the only times people break from these norms is when there is a book that everyone is talking about or reading. Television has hundreds of channels. Americans are bombarded with messages and metaphors they barely have time to think and process what they have just seen before they are attacked by an advertisement or the next show. With fewer options of reading and viewing material it would bring people together in discussion as they would be more likely to have read or seen the material and this could create an avenue of discussion.

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    1. Great points, and some scary points, like the idea that we all only read things that buttress our own beliefs. Your comments about the speed of media, and how hard it makes it for us to step back and be critical, are especially well taken. Somebody we’re reading later this semester, Theodor Adorno, wrote an essay with Max Horkheimer in which they worried that films “are so designed that quickness, powers of observation, and experience are undeniably needed to apprehend them at all; yet sustained thought is out of the question if the spectator is not to miss the relentless rush of facts.”

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      1. The only way to truly formulate an intelligent argument is to listen to the opposition, or as it has been said, “keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” As much as we may not want to we need to hear the other side of things. Constant confirmation of your beliefs being right, and all others being wrong might instill radical beliefs, take a look at both radical factions, that being ISIS, and those Western Christians who take abortion rights way to far; bombing abortion clinics, outward hatred of the LBGTQ community. The only thing that separates these two factions is body count. Perhaps mediation is necessary, and that would require one to have heard both sides of the argument.

        Paul McConnell

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  5. I completely believe that literature and television can be political. Authors and people who make television shows have political beliefs just like everyone else and it is possible for these people to allow their political beliefs to enter into the written work or television show. Also, before the invention of the radio, newspapers were used by candidates in elections to get their message to the voters. The article in the newspaper about the candidate would have been a political piece designed by the candidates to acquire votes. Members of political parties write political motivated books and produce politically motivated television shows and movies all the time with the goal of making as many people as possible agree with a certain political belief. I think that as long as there is politics, there will always be people that will write politically motivated books and articles and produce politically motivated television shows and movies.

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  6. I do believe there is a relationship between politics and literature. Literature can be used as a method to express political views throughout society, either from a stand point of agreement or of rebellion concerning the political standards at that time. There are several accounts throughout history of how literature created change in the political spectrum both positively and negatively. Though in today’s society of politics, I do not believe that literature plays a role or affects change in the realm of politics. The relationship goes both directions as politics can also shape the premise of literature, though usually in the effect of suppressing ideas to discourage rebellion among society.

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  7. Activism is generated by people. As people, we are influenced by what’s around us. It helps craft our identity and taste and it can maybe go so far as to cause actions that help define who we are. In the grand retrospect of human existence, mankind has blazed its own history (so mush so that it coined the term). What creates history is people and it’s important to understand the motives and inspirations behind said people, and the answer is art. Art is debated over and over about whether or not x or y is defined as art. What is it exactly? Art? Well, I believe it means different things to different people. Books, film, music, paintings, sketches, architecture, sculpture, video games… These all influence people on a personal level because it allows thoughts to be translated in an accessible form. As a result, politicians, musicians,housewives, accountants, doctors, teens and others take in these ideas and it’s only through time we can see the ideas and actions develop. Art is a very powerful thing.

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  8. Literature can greatly influence people’s views on politics and make them look at certain things in a different way. Literature is great and creative way of getting peoples message across and heard and sometimes the most powerful way to speak your mind is through writing literature. Literature can sway and twists people’s views on politics making people think more critically. Almost anything from literature, poetry, art, music, comics, and film can have a great impact on how people view the world. Things like art and music can capture people’s emotions and others like literature and film can make people want to become more active in making changes. I think literature is a powerful tool to influence society and can bring a lot of good.

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  9. I absolutely believe there is a relationship between activism and literature. Literature is consumed by the masses, and those who do not participate receive information from those who do, and so literature spreads like wildfire. Literature can enlighten otherwise ignorant individuals concerning current issues. The more people know, the more they have to ponder and feel. Raising political awareness may move previously idle persons to activism. The other side of the coin is that politics can and most likely do influence literature greatly. Political issues are a subject of passion for many, and would be an inspiration for those who create literature to create.

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  10. Politics constantly influence media, which then in turn encourages more awareness and influences activism. Political literary pieces can directly reflect a society and culture that is present in today’s world, serve as warnings for what could happen in the future, or just show us how much of a difference we can make — The Hunger Games trilogy and Les Misérables both show the oppressed rising up against their oppressor. Literature is a much more entertaining, accessible outlet to get members of society that wouldn’t otherwise much care for politics to think critically about what is going on in our lives. Even besides those literary pieces that are purposefully political, every piece of literature is affected by politics because the author is affected by politics whether he or she realizes it or not.

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  11. Literature has a very powerful political influence on the members of a society the literature relates to. Many times a person will have a belief or opinion about something but won’t act on that idea for fear of persecution or ridicule. When a piece of political or controversial literature is released into the world it joins the people of a society who were unsure of their opinions and confirms what they felt all along. This unity creates a group of people with a common goal who now believe they can change or protest whatever topic or issue is at hand; basically safety in numbers. Some examples of this are the Ferguson Missouri case or Occupy Wall Street. Both of these events were magnified through literature.

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    1. In my introductory blog I wrote how literature can be used as a political tool that can be used to“join the people of a society” in order to achieve a common goal. Currently, I still believe literature can be used in that sense but I now also believe that literature is always political in someway or another because people are political. Every author that creates literature has their own set of political beliefs that shape what and who they write about. These political beliefs can have a large or small impact on an authors writings but have some type of influence either way. For example, author of “V for Vendetta,” Alan Moore, politically identifies as an anarchist. At the end of the “V for Vendetta” the society of the novel is left in a state of chaos, or anarchy, with no official leader or government in power. Author of “We,” Yevgeny Zamyatin, opposed the increasing censorship of literature put on by the Soviet government. “We” is often seen as a political satire aimed at the Soviet Union for being a police state. Lastly, author of “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen, was a strong-natured, head-strong, independent woman to those who knew her. These same characteristics are seen in many of the female characters in Austen’s novels. These are only a few examples of how political views shape an author’s writing but ultimately literature comes from the mind, the same mind that is filled with political beliefs and ideas. It would be impossible to write any literature without including some variation of these beliefs, which makes it easy to argue that all literature is political.

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  12. Literature and art greatly mirror politics and society. Much of our society is formed by politics, and literature often depicts a certain type of society that contributes to the storyline-often making a political point through the society (like in The Hunger Games or 1984). Books throughout history have made political and societal comments, like the lust for a higher socio-economic class in Madame Bovary or the breaking away from the norm in On The Road. Even books that don’t seem political at all could actually be political because of how the characters are set up and how the society regards different situations. It’s also all a matter of how they are interpreted; everyone reading the same book will have a slightly different view of it because so much is left to the imagination. For instance, some people see Winnie-the-Pooh as a loveable bear, yet A.A. Milne’s book was banned in several locations because talking animals is considered an insult to god.

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    1. I still agree with the statement I made at the beginning of the semester. Just living can be incredibly political because of the way politics shape society, someone’s race and/or socioeconomic class, where they live, if they’re religious or not, etc., so books about normal life and everyday occurrence can be political because they reflect how people are shaped by society. This is seen in Pride and Prejudice, which depicts a society that has rigid social expectations and rules. Not all books need to feature blatant political messages, like We or V is for Vendetta to be able to have a political standpoint.
      Literature can serve many purposes, so it is not necessary for everything to just be entertainment or just be a political message. While some things are more for entertainment, there are also books/movies/shows that are based just around politics (political biographies, war books or films), and then there are those books that are a combination of the both. The play, Waiting for Godot, is a good example of this-it takes a political message, whether that is about God, waiting, or simply a more realistic form of realism, but it displays it in a funny, yet not very coherent, manner. The audience is then more drawn in to it, while still receiving a political message.
      Overall, literature is one of the easiest ways to get a political message out. Releasing a novel that says something about a certain society or government may not sway every reading to the author’s point of view, but it does put the point of view into the public sphere. It also allows people in the future to look back and determine what people were thinking during the time that was written. Almost all the books that we read in this class are good examples of that, but Germinal and We probably provide the best. Germinal features disgruntled workers, desiring a better life, or at least a respectable pay-this shows modern readers the lack of equality among people and the need for unions. We, a dystopian novel, shows the anger and resentment in Stalin era Russia; what once was a utopian dream was turned into a dictatorship that left much of the country either in fear or dead.
      Literature provides a multitude of ways to make a statement or get a certain political view across. Even in children’s books there are often lessons for kids to subtly pick up on. Without political literature, the world would be drastically different; people would most likely not be as well read as we are now.

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  13. I think art strongly reflects the attitudes of society and can elicit new ways of thinking, which can bring about social awareness that can lead to a political response. I recently saw the movie, “Selma” and found the overt racism in our country’s history jarring. However, it got me thinking about the systemic institutional racism we are still experiencing in this country and the obvious need for continued social reformation and policy change. The film’s original song, written by Common, included lyrics about the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent rioting following the decision not to indict Darren Wilson. This not only demonstrates how current events influence art, but it also represents that the increased social unrest calling for reform is cultivated by artistic expression.

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    1. Literature is not always political, but when it is, it possesses the ability to act as the voice of the unseen and unheard, and possesses prolonged relevance because human nature does not change. In retrospect, it has become even more clear over the course of the semester that authors can take a variety of approaches in bringing to light their political agendas. For example, Zola’s Germinal depicted the influence of systemic poverty propagated by those with power on miners in 19th century France. His characters exhibited a resignation to poor working conditions that one would most likely consider unlivable, “She sweated and panted, and her joints were creaking, but she didn’t complain, displaying the dull acceptance acquired by habit…” (p. 43). Ingrained obedience to the powers that oppressed them, “…tell them to shut up. Better safe than sorry” (p. 61) is found throughout Germinal until the miners can stand no more. The high price of rebellion depicted in Zola’s characters reflects the realities of fighting against those in power, “…heart-rending cries arose….Bebert and Lydie had collapsed on top of each other, hit by the first few shots” (p. 431) showing the cost those struggling to live a life with dignity were willing to pay, which we continue to see among populations today.

      Overt political messages can be found throughout V for Vendetta in both the illustrations and written content.  We see the government's leader heiled by the people, reminiscent of Hitler (p. 37).  Page 116 has pictures of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini as V says, “We've had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions” which comes across as a warning from the authors for society to avoid making the same mistakes again by giving away our power to untrustworthy and damaging stewards.  We, like V for Vendetta reflects on the impact of an all-powerful and controlling government.  Zamyatin writes the book through the eyes of D503 who is systematically recording the events according to his experience.  One State controls every thought, emotion, and action.  On page 10, O breaches etiquette, “I'd like so much to come to your place today and let the blinds down” when this is not her “night”, D503 thinks, “It's just more of her thought getting ahead of itself, like a spark that fires too early in the ignition, which can do some harm at times”, which reflects the orderly manner of existence in this world, thinking what one is supposed to think, acting according to One State directive.  D503 begins to recognize the things within himself that go against One State on page 23 “...today I've been writing about the loftiest summits of human history, the whole time I've been breathing the purest mountain air of thought”.  While the characters in Germinal fear surveillance, those in We and V for Vendetta live under the thumb of government where their actions are under constant scrutiny.  The concerns of surveillance are real and immediate, as we gave up a great deal of our privacy as United States citizens following September 11th which demonstrates how easily control over our own environment can slip through our fingers for a “greater good”.  
      
      In Austin's Pride and Prejudice, a picture of societal hierarchy is portrayed.  When Elizabeth is challenged by Lady Catherine for challenging social norms as a woman of no fortune who has captured the heart of Darcy, we see the reaction unfold, “Miss Bennett, do you know who I am?” (p. 271).  As Lady Catherine attempts to pull rank through intimidation, we see Elizabeth stand her ground, which offers an image of strength and determination.  This depiction of tackling societal norms offers a courageous and clever strategy to skillfully navigate those with power useful for those facing class discrimination in today's world.
      
      I have become more convinced of the interaction of literature and politics since the beginning of this class.  The ability to creatively write a depiction of human suffering, oppressive government,  navigation of  societal norms, is a gift.  As readers, we have an opportunity to experience what characters experience through the written word, which provides us with an intimate connection to conditions we are compelled to address in a political arena if the work moves us the way it was intended.  Though time moves forward, basic human behavior does not, which affords depictions of the human condition open for political scrutiny regardless of how much time has passed.
      

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      1. Literature is not always political, but when it is, it possesses the ability to act as the voice of the unseen and unheard, and possesses prolonged relevance because human nature does not change. In retrospect, it has become even more clear over the course of the semester that authors can take a variety of approaches in bringing to light their political agendas. For example, Zola’s Germinal depicted the influence of systemic poverty propagated by those with power on miners in 19th century France. His characters exhibited a resignation to poor working conditions that one would most likely consider unlivable, “She sweated and panted, and her joints were creaking, but she didn’t complain, displaying the dull acceptance acquired by habit…” (p. 43). Ingrained obedience to the powers that oppressed them, “…tell them to shut up. Better safe than sorry” (p. 61) is found throughout Germinal until the miners can stand no more. The high price of rebellion depicted in Zola’s characters reflects the realities of fighting against those in power, “…heart-rending cries arose….Bebert and Lydie had collapsed on top of each other, hit by the first few shots” (p. 431) showing the cost those struggling to live a life with dignity were willing to pay, which we continue to see among populations today.

        Overt political messages can be found throughout V for Vendetta in both the illustrations and written content.  We see the government's leader heiled by the people, reminiscent of Hitler (p. 37).  Page 116 has pictures of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini as V says, “We've had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions” which comes across as a warning from the authors for society to avoid making the same mistakes again by giving away our power to untrustworthy and damaging stewards.  We, like V for Vendetta reflects on the impact of an all-powerful and controlling government.  Zamyatin writes the book through the eyes of D503 who is systematically recording the events according to his experience.  One State controls every thought, emotion, and action.  On page 10, O breaches etiquette, “I'd like so much to come to your place today and let the blinds down” when this is not her “night”, D503 thinks, “It's just more of her thought getting ahead of itself, like a spark that fires too early in the ignition, which can do some harm at times”, which reflects the orderly manner of existence in this world, thinking what one is supposed to think, acting according to One State directive.  D503 begins to recognize the things within himself that go against One State on page 23 “...today I've been writing about the loftiest summits of human history, the whole time I've been breathing the purest mountain air of thought”.  While the characters in Germinal fear surveillance, those in We and V for Vendetta live under the thumb of government where their actions are under constant scrutiny.  The concerns of surveillance are real and immediate, as we gave up a great deal of our privacy as United States citizens following September 11th which demonstrates how easily control over our own environment can slip through our fingers for a “greater good”.  
        
        In Austin's Pride and Prejudice, a picture of societal hierarchy is portrayed.  When Elizabeth is challenged by Lady Catherine for challenging social norms as a woman of no fortune who has captured the heart of Darcy, we see the reaction unfold, “Miss Bennett, do you know who I am?” (p. 271).  As Lady Catherine attempts to pull rank through intimidation, we see Elizabeth stand her ground, which offers an image of strength and determination.  This depiction of tackling societal norms offers a courageous and clever strategy to skillfully navigate those with power useful for those facing class discrimination in today's world.
        
        I have become more convinced of the interaction of literature and politics since the beginning of this class.  The ability to creatively write a depiction of human suffering, oppressive government,  navigation of  societal norms, is a gift.  As readers, we have an opportunity to experience what characters experience through the written word, which provides us with an intimate connection to conditions we are compelled to address in a political arena if the work moves us the way it was intended.  Though time moves forward, basic human behavior does not, which affords depictions of the human condition open for political scrutiny regardless of how much time has passed.
        

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  14. Politics and literature have been important in our civilization&have evolved and grown over time. A good relationship that I see between the both usually deals with something that is currently occurring in our world. In literature a message In a particular story or the lives of a certain character or groups of people are reflected in the story such as social status, attitudes, etc. and that is what politics can be about. It is a certain belief system that people follow which they believe is right and will benefit them the most. Right now through advanced technology and social media our political views have been affected through Internet, television, radio, newspaper, etc. Also what I have noticed is that writers will generally write to what they know to what they write. A good example I could think of is Shakespeare. Scenes in his plays shows his views on politics, life,& Death.

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  15. In my opinion I most certainly believe there is a synthesis between literature and politics, and literature and activism. Movies send messages whether they be subliminally and hidden, or outright blatant.
    If I take the movie written and produced by Clint Eastwood entitled, “American Sniper,” many conclusions can be drawn from both the film itself, but also the director. Clint Eastwood is known to be Republican as he spoke at the GOP Convention prior to the Republicans failed attempt to unseat President Obama as President of The United States. In the news there is a decrease in news regarding the military’s occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq primarily because of the draw-down. Movies like “American Sniper” ramp up sentiment towards patriotism and valor with a possible attempt to encourage U.S. citizens to join their armed forces, or to even encourage citizens to vote for measures that favor more government spending on defense.

    Other examples, while not in regard to politics but more aptly activism could be films like “Wall-E,” which encourages taking care of the environment, and “Avatar,” which encourages sustainability, while discouraging capitalistic greed that exacerbates environmental destruction. Although not all people concerned with protecting the environment and it’s resources are liberal, it is well known in American society through talk radio, cable television, and newspapers that this is primarily a “liberal agenda.”

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  16. I believe there is a strong relationship in literature’s influence on politics, and vice versa. Literature, as well as many other art forms, allow different ideas and perspectives to circulate rapidly throughout our world. Texts are capable of engaging our senses or offering escape and entertainment, but texts also provoke us to think critically. Literature allows us to delve into abstractions where we challenge notions and our interpretations of the world. Politics pervades literature since many of us seek leisure through literary texts, movies, TV shows, and other cultural products. For example, the release of the film The Interview starring Seth Rogan and James Franco presents itself as an action comedy where two incompetent Americans associated with a celebrity tabloid scheme to assassinate the Korean ‘supreme leader’, Kim Jong-Un. The Interview attracts an audience that wouldn’t typically be interested in politics, but under the guise of entertainment the movie allows sentiments and perspectives regarding North Korea to circulate. In essence literature affects politics by spreading certain ideas through texts and encouraging critical thought that challenges our understanding of the world. Politics can also influence literature, as we saw in our example of The Interview, by utilizing entertainment and manipulating our desire for leisure in order to get us involved in discussions, keeping certain political issues in the spotlight.

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  17. Yes I think literature can have an effect on politics in our society. I believe this because literature can point out specific social issues whether its environmental, human rights or economical that is current in our society today. People tend to listen to items of the popular culture, so if someone would like to raise an issue or predict one if things don’t change, they can do so through literature. However, I also feel that politics can have a strong influence on literature as well. If someone does not agree with a social issue they can take up an argument through literature and express their feelings to the public in that way.

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  18. I believe that there is a relationship between literature and politics. I think that people write specific forms of literature in response to their reactions to certain politics. That’s not to say that all literature is written in response to politics. An example would be George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” It’s a dystopian novel that reflected in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and into the Stalin era. It’s an example I use time and again. It’s a fascinating example of how literature can be used to sway outside or uninformed opinions. Literature is a way for authors to portray a situation without out right pointing fingers. As to whether literature effects politics, I’ve never really thought about it. I’m sure on some level if a novel caught enough public attention it could pull people to look at the central themes of the book, or its intentional message. I’m assuming it would need a lot of coverage though and literature isn’t as popular as it once was.

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    1. I still agree with what I said at the beginning of the semester, I just feel more informed now. Literature is a tool, and it can be used for good. Every day, every thing that we do shapes our lives and society in some way. This was incredibly evident “Germinal” where daily life became a cause for action. I think literature can be used in so many different ways to affect politics now, Way I hadn’t even thought of. It’s subtle and sometimes you have to search for it but there is a message in everything written. “V for Vendetta” was an out right attack on 1980’s London/Thatcherism. V states on page 116, “We’ve had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars, and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions.” The reason this statement is so affective though is because of the background art that features Hitler, Stalin, and what I’m assuming are two other bad guys whose names I don’t know. Literature will always be political because it’s human nature to have an opinion, and literature is just one persons opinion.

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  19. Literature has a massive influence over politics. History is documented by literature, which allows us to learn from previous experiences, including political ventures. Many people also express themselves through various forms of literature to reflect feelings about their environment, including politics. Political activists are especially expressive by nature and frequently use literature as a way to voice their views. Literature is also a more universal means to process information, so more people can understand. For example, people who speak different languages can understand the same visual artwork and have a basic knowledge of what it means; for example, in America, our flag represents our beliefs and unity as a country. However, the idea can be construed to very different extremes based on the beholder, thus making the relationship between literature and politics an ongoing art.

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  20. I do think there is a relationship between both literature and politics. Literary pieces have had such a wide effect on people throughout the ages and politics in many ways affects our everyday lives. Together they are a very powerful tool. Literature can show how political ideas are already viewed and they can also show how political ideals could be if the world was different. They can be dramatic or underplayed but they are still present. Literature is a very powerful tool and can easily be used to increase a political view. People are very easily swayed by things around them and since politics are part of our everyday lives it’s no surprise they show up in literature.

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  21. Literature does most certainly have an impact on politics and society today and in the past, because it has the ability to provide insight into the experiences of an alternative form of thinking. While it does not always provide rationale ideas, if it is favorable amongst it’s audience it has the capacity to manifest into a movement by invoking in them the idea that the alternative is more preferable. Literature is multidimensional in the sense that its context can approach today’s reality from any angle or not at all. Thus allowing it’s effects to be diverse, but present nonetheless.

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  22. Literature and art has a large affect on politics. In dystopian novels such as the “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” the government is depicted as corrupt. These books show underlying themes such as a general public mistrust in the government as well as oppression of the people within society. These books create the message that the people that are oppressed need to fight against the corrupt government, and the idea of fighting against the government is shown through the books’ protagonists. Film has also been shown to have an affect on politics and a recent example of this is “The Interview”. The unintentional message that was created from the release from this movie was the idea of freedom of speech and ideas. After it was banned from many movie theaters, the public decided to fight against this idea and demanded that it should be released in theaters. The public believed that the movie demonstrated freedom of speech regarding the movie’s idea about North Korea.

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  23. Politics and literature do have a relationship, some literature such as theatre play scripts express political viewpoints such as “An Enemy of the People”. A man discovered the town’s water is contaminated and he wants to do something but he encounters a powerful man who has influence in the politics of the city; he puts the people against the man and drive him out of the city. Theatre is sometimes mistaken as a just drama or folktales but some play scripts depict one’s society. “The Exonerated” is another example here in the United States where some people were incarcerated just because they needed someone to arrest so the people would not riot or cause trouble. Literature can also store information that has happened in the past and what is happening in the present. Novels and movies are other forms in which politics are expressed, the first book I read that relates to this was “The Giver”, similar to the movie “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games”, they all share a similar theme and a different lifestyle than the one we live right now. Literature can open the reader’s mind to new perspectives and viewpoints on the world and environment around them. Literature can educate the people, influence them to research their local politicians, the way to live their life, and how to behave in society. Literature can change someone to vote differently,or encourage them to vote.

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  24. I believe politics is relevant in even the simplest movies and stories. For instance, there are so many underlying messages in Disney’s movies. Walt Disney is known to be a racist and anti-Semitic. His feelings are expressed pretty blatantly throughout his movies. In Dumbo, the leader of the gang of black crows was named Jim Crow, and most of his characters in the other movies are Caucasian with blonde hair and blue eyes. Alice in Wonderland also came out around the same time the psychedelic movement began.
    I believe literature has the most potential to be influenced by politics. Many talk show hosts and politicians have come out with books directly preaching their view on politics. The literature that always catches my attention the most is influenced by some huge political change in time, such as during the Harlem renaissance, or after the Holocaust.

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  25. I believe literature and poetics have a strong relationship and correlation. The poetics that are happening in each individual environment drives how people act or react to the situations we have in society. For example, when the pesticide DDT was being sprayed everywhere and someone noticed that severe consequences, that where created by the governments each of consideration of possible outcomes then an author wrote a novel about everything that was happening as a result of the governments issuance of DDT. After this information was found there was public and political outrage and eventually forced change in the government. This example incorporates literature, activism and politics. So yes I definitely believe these all effect each other.

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  26. Most of time I think literature as a result what is going on politics, economics and society. Sometimes people became disenchanted, angry, depressed whatever emotion they feel they write about it. Take for instance, Thomas Payne’s Common Sense, Les Miserable, and A Raisin in the Sun etc… In my opinion there is a strong relationship in literature the influence in politics. For example, a relationship between politics and literature is the both has good content the influences in our world. Sometimes there are books that has content of literature and politics the make us see the world different or changes the way the world thinks about objects. An example I could think is the book The Republic by Plato, this book considered to be most influential text on literature, philosophy, and politics. This book has ideas such as philosopher kings, theory form and thoughts on immortality of souls. In my opinion this book is a great example of literature and politics because now we see that there are many things that are happening in our society such as new laws, theory of forms, changes in religion and a lot of criticism of culture and religion. Another main point is the writing influences history which mostly we see a connection of literature and politics. An example could be world war one, the great depression, the Holocaust and other issue. I think the literature does not affect politics because both of them discusses many issues which allows society to think different in many things. For example literature has some good messages to follow in everyone one life’s but also it is vice versa in politics. Therefore literature is a great object, not just any writing is more like a mirror which reflects those social, political, and economic issues in our society at any given time.

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  27. I believe literature is a way of expression. People express their content or discontent through their writing, art, etc. Therefore, I believe politics sets the ground for many aspects in literature.
    I believe literature has an indirect effect on politics. However, it has a large effect on society. Politics reacts to what society is demanding so if literature can cause society to feel a certain way, politics will react accordingly.

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  28. Questions: What do you believe the relationship between politics and literature is?
    Do you believe literature has any effect on politics and society?
    I believe the relationship between literature and politics is very interwoven in the sense that literature often has correlating, or contradictory, views with politics depending on the author’s beliefs and/or the position the author is trying to take. Literature can bring different ideas to a reader’s mind that they have not thought about previously and give them insight on information they may not have had access to in the past. For example, an American author talking about the similarities and differences between Communism and Democracy can publish a book and sell it in North Korea thus possibly starting a revolution. With this point I strongly believe that literature can have a strong impact in politics and society.

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  29. I believe that literature and politics do have a relationship. I believe that both literature and politics impact each other indirectly and directly at times. For example, I believe that any piece of literature may have been influenced by the time or surrounding politics of its time.

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  30. Literature has a large impact on politics. Literature is a way for people to make a political belief made without being so blatant about it. There are many more subtleties that can be used in literature opposed to the alternative. Propaganda is what I think of when I think of literature in politics. One person could hand out pamphlets on a street corner and you could have an army of people ready to die for your political beliefs.

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  31. There is a clear correlation between literature and politics. Literature is one of the most easily accessible forms of communication in society. This becomes even more so true with the definition of literature including television and film. Literature allows the ideas of few or many to be spread to the masses which can greatly influence politics. An example demonstrating this would be Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses. A simple piece of literature that was nailed to a church door was one of the original sparks of the Protestant Reformation.

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  32. Literature is a clear pathway to politics, although it very much alters in it’s blatancy and areas of enlightenment. Literature helps inspire ideas and bring light to situations that many have failed to recognize or thought they were alone with their opinion. We read with our own political bias in everything, with what is “right” or “wrong” in a character, essay, newspaper, etc. The most modern example of literature becoming political comes from what we would characterize as a youth non-fiction novel, The Hunger Games. Many pictures from Mexico and Ferguson protests show a popular war cry on flags and walls exclaiming, “If we burn, you burn with us.”

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  33. Literature is a way for people to convey their thoughts by using it as an outlet. Politics can absolutely expressed through literature. It allows an issue pertaining to politics to be heard by many people; some of whom may not have received the message any other way. A lot of people have a lack of interest in politics and therefor avoid media coverage pertaining to it. However, a much broader audience can be reached by embedding politics into our; books, movies, music, etc. Literature has a huge effect on our society; everything we read or see effects us on some level. Societies will use great novels and movies to escape from our boring lives; we look to novels for a deeper meaning and understanding of the world we live in. Incorporating politics into literature is a great way to inform the public of something they might never expose themselves to.

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  34. Literature acts as a gateway to change. It is an alternative to speaking out vocally. With the use of a pen name, a person can more safely express his or her views about what is going on with politics or activism in their daily lives. Literature has an enormous effect on politics, and not just literature but also visual, performing, and cinematic arts. Arts in general bring certain issues into the public eye and make them more aware of what is going on in the world. Change can occur from literature. Literature (and the arts) can be a way to give a voice to those who would not normally have one, just like we discussed in class with Harriet Beecher Stowe’s work Uncle Tom’s Cabin igniting the civil war. One would not normally listen to a black woman at the time, but this work brought an important issue to society which brought about great change.

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  35. I believe that literature has played a tremendous role in shaping political action and theory throughout history. Such works include “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which was significantly relevant in influencing public opposition towards slavery, as well as “Crito” by Plato, which gave philosophical insight to civil disobedience and the idea of justice, and thus influenced the basis of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It is my opinion that literature has helped to create the foundation that modern politics are founded on today. In modern literature, as well as other forms of art, political messages are still extremely prominent. Often times though, I find that these messages in contemporary works are shallow and simplistic and almost conform to widespread public belief of an issue. In my eyes, the well thought out works with controversial impacts that can be seen throughout history are slowly beginning to die.

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  36. Do you think literature has any effects on politics or society?
    No. I think it’s the other way around. Politics and society strongly influence literature due to the fact that literature comes from people who are part of society that are influenced by politics. The authors’ work comes from incidents and ideas or situations they’ve experienced and are usually expressed or portrayed somehow in their work.

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      1. It could be both, but I believe that society and politics influence literature more than the other way around. In order for an author to come up with some kind of literature piece, they have to have had some kind of idea or inspiration. Many are to inform or to teach lessons which were influenced by society or politics. The author may disagree with what is going on in the world so they create some kind of work which they hope to open people’s eyes to the truth or to show consequences if certain actions or not taken.

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  37. I think that literature has a big part on politics and society. I see quite a bit of newspapers with writing that is intended to get people to think a certain way/change their mind. A lot of popular movies lately have come from books with a strong political agenda behind them, for example: The Giver, Hunger Games, and Divergent. All of these films/books have too powerful governments that control peoples everyday lives.

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  38. I believe there is no real way to separate the influence of politics on media. I think that because the idea of “stories”, in any format, are drawn from the world around us and thus are tightly knitted together, because “stories” are a large way we, as a society and culture, understand and process that world. “Stories” are one of the easiest ways for humans to convey an idea and politics seems to just be full of those. I also see that stories that are entangled with the current politics of the time, be it the present or past, show a unique view of the society.

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  39. I believe literature is the grounding structure that develops political ideas and stances. Literature has always been on the forefront when trying to express and spread an idea. All the way back to Ancient Greece, the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and many others helped to shape and create the legal system they used. Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” questioned the system of his time and influenced the minds of America’s founding fathers to break away from Great Britain and become a political entity of its own. There have been numerous power pieces in history, some that fought to abolish slavery, others that demanded change in social classes, those that brought to light the injustices towards the minorities and many, many more kinds.

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  40. I believe that politics and literature have incredible overlap. First, literature as an art form can be used to portray political activism in disguise. Using characters to represent whole ideas and using the plot to show the battle between different ideas. Art is very reactive, and writing often reflects the current pressures in society, which includes political issues. Literature did not exist until society; neither did politics. Both rose from the creation of society and are thus reactions to the order and growth of that society. Similar to literature, so much of what makes politics so powerful is a superb use of language.

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  41. Art and literature are often times a way of rationalizing, or making sense of the world that surrounds us. These ideas permeate throughout our culture because of the inherent nature of the interplay of popular culture literary works, and art .Through art we can gain new and fresh perspective or outlooks on life, which then becomes the driving force behind our current ideologies that we subscribe to. These ideologies set the stage for what sort of political beliefs we have and what sort of political activism we take part in if any at all.

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  42. I believe that there is an existing relationship between literature and politics. There are several novels that respond to current political issues, or shape the conversation of the issue. For example, the novel; Animal Farm responds to rising communism in Russia by placing the setting in a farm with animals rising against there owners in order to dictate themselves. The film It’s a Beautiful Life exposes the horrors taken place within the concentration camps in Italy. I believe literature does have an effect on politics and society as it helps interpret or simplify the issue to its reader or viewer.

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  43. Yes, literature has a cause and effect relationship with politics. Literature can be based on political ideals and morals without being readily evident, and political actions can be caused by pieces of literature. The most prominent example would be Adolf Hitler’s use of literature for political action in which he used his infamous book Mein Kampf, and theatrical speeches to rally support for the Nazi Party. Without his pieces of literature, Hitler would not have gained as much support. Literature makes us view the world through a different lens.

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  44. Literature has an immense connection to politics and society in several ways. Cultural products are the people’s tool for sorting out what is going on in the world into something that makes sense to us. It is our way of expressing what is our reality. People absorbing these products are exposed to several ideas and beliefs that are open to interpretation. We view art and take from it what we want, either consciously or subconsciously, and use those pieces to build on what is our worldview. Some art is meant to make us question what we’re always been told. I believe its purpose is to inspire us to think for ourselves and use our own minds to interpret what is really going on.

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  45. Literature has always kept a sort of checks and balances on politics. It can either be a force to promote an ideology or one to criticize certain political practices. Politics and literature have always had a relationship even in today’s society. Though the median of how people get their information has changed we still have writers who can be a force of change for good or bad through their works.

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  46. It would be difficult to claim that various forms of art and media have little to no influence on society. From seeming juvenile animations, comics and posters; to the more complex great literary authors, philosophers, journalists, cinematographers, religions scripture and other forms of media; not only capture our attention as a form of entertainment or belief, but also engage our minds if only for even for a brief moment in time. Over the centuries art has evolved and reflected the time in which it was created and how they felt about their surroundings. This could be considered a form of freedom of speech either, unbeknownst or aggressively portrayed towards bureaucracy or religion; the more restrictions, the more encrypted the messages are to their intended audience. Certain themes have occurred during political movements or economic recession, depression or times of prosperity. Currently in American society, it is common knowledge that the leader of the free word has a low approval rating, unemployment rates are increasing along with inflation, and voter turnout has also decreased over the decades. It’s fair to say that there is a sense of overall uncertainty; therefore Americans have less faith in their government and as a result, less participation. If we focusing merely on television and film; popular themes include anarchy, super heroes, unhuman super natural predators, and apocalyptic events in our present time. Examples of these themes are popular shows and films such as, “The Walking Dead,” “Transcendence,” and “Sons of Anarchy,” all give us a sense of taking matters in our own hands. One could draw the conclusion that media of this nature has formed an extreme move in which there are actually actual people currently preparing for dooms days type scenarios. Others forms of media attempt to invoke heroism such as; “the Hunger Games, Marvel and DC comic; movies and television shows. Through these action packed thrillers they emulate forms of resistance that one person or persons can have on the masses in order to restore the faith in society power to rise above our fears of uncertainty. These fears include government takeover, terrorism, questionable science experimentation and our increasing dependency on technology and the power it has over us; and again there are various ways in which media has depicted those as fears as well. History has a way of repeating itself and over time society has creating new ways to express personal perspectives of their current surrounding whether it be tangible or intangible; and these forms of express do influences others in a direct or indirect way in which the outcome of the fallout can be unpredictable.

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  47. I believe there is a similar relationship between politics and literature and they both affect each other. They both try to enforce new ideas, attitudes, and behaviors to an individual in hopes that everyone will agree to the same thing. Anything written in literature comes from some sort of political influence. Politics is just an expressed way of trying to get society to hear these new things and try to understand them. They are both controversial and have a huge impact in our society.

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  48. There is most definitely an intertwining connection between literature and politics. Mostly every literature piece, is a product of political factors. This is to to the nature of social and political factors of the specific time period in which the literature was written. Each writer’s or media member’s persona is formulated from current politics, which govern his or her style and intentions for writing. Literature is outlet in which political motives are displayed for the mass to read and critically think for themselves on their personal beliefs for the message being relayed. These are a few reasons as why and how literature and politics interknit and mesh with each other.

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  49. I believe politics and literature go hand in hand in todays society. Using literature is what advertises politics, whether it’s stickers, propaganda poster board, radio or television. The literature involved in politics is what persuades the reader or viewer and leads people to believe in the point being pushed to the public. The more persuasive the literature, the more that political view is being spread.

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  50. Conclusion Blog.

        In my introductory blog, I argued that there is an intertwining relationship between literature and politics. Literature is a product of its environment. For example, Zamyatin’s “We” was a result of the oppression and censorship to individuality and creativity. The author demonstrated the uniformity and “one-state” through a dramatized dystopia where everything is in uniform based on numerical value, and creativity is seen a “disease”. This novel was written to show the readers how the restrictions on society changed the way people used their minds. D-503 demonstrates that even the thought of a lack of numbers and highly organized structures, that life would be chaotic. This seems the indicate that the author wants to show how brainwashed authoritarian societies are, “I’ve read and heard a lot of unbelievable stuff about those times when people lived in freedom, that is, in disorganized wildness.” (13) The author is showing how freedom is viewed as disorganized. Since I have not read every book; I feel that I cannot make the claim that every piece of literature is political. Nevertheless, from what I have read, I feel that there is a political motive behind every story. 
    As I said in my introductory blog, each writer or media member’s persona is formulated from current politics, which govern his or her style and intentions for writing. Literature is an outlet in which political motives are displayed for the mass to read and critically think for themselves on their personal beliefs for the message being relayed. These are a few reasons as why and how literature and politics interknit and mesh with each other. I feel that literature interacts with the current politics of the time. 
    I still agree with my original perspective, which literature is in most cases political. Although some books seem to be just entertainment, there may be some hidden agenda behind them. I know we didn’t read Dr. Seuss, but this was the first children’s book I could think of that just screamed entertainment at me. Even in this book, perhaps the use of ridiculous and nonsensical words were an aim to take at demagogues, and all of the political structures that confined society in the early to mid 1900’s. 
    Lastly, I feel that literature is typically political because any literature that an author has written is shaped by the political and social factors that he or she has grown up learning. Some of these political motives include addressing problems of social injustice, governmental restraints, taboos and prejudices. These implicit values are written to bring about social and political change. These are the most important reasons as to why I feel that politics and literature have a connection.
    

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Associate Professor of Literature :: Yale-NUS College

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