The Role of Literature in Society

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Mario Vargas Llosa's essay "Why Literature?  raises several interesting points. He emphasizes the important place literature holds in our society and the ability it has to initiate change. He also states that literature must be radical, rebellious, and extreme to be considered great, and that only those who share in this spirit can truly enjoy literature. It is in these latter points that I disagree. In fact, there are no exact criteria on which literature can be judged, and for that matter, no exact mold that a reader of great literature would fit. What makes great literature great is indefinable, and what makes one capable of enjoying and understanding such works is equally as ambiguous.

There are many great authors who wrote many great books that did not contain a hint of rebellion. The most famous of these is unarguably Shakespeare. There is no other author who has classes taught in every high school in the country devoted solely to his work. Like all other romantic comedies by Shakespeare, the world of A Midsummer Night's Dream is a fantasy of romance, love, humor, music, dance, song, and poetry. It is a wonderful piece of art and literature that does not contain any hint of rebellion or challenge to the statu

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