Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Value of Literature (Part II)

This book is one reason that literature should be used for ANY research paper:  it covers such a wide range of course material and topics.  And that's what literature should do:  it broadens our views of the substance of life experiences.  Being able to apply this to a paper or essay should be fundamental in education as well as presented in a paper: "what did society {or the reader} learn, why did it matter, how was the response handled in modern times (if it WAS resolved; if not, has it occurred again?), where ELSE does this happen, and who was involved?"

The timeliness of this book can not be overlooked.  Have things changed, especially in the food processing business?  That depends on what "change" has taken place--especially in view of the millions of pounds of recalled meats, chemicals and drugs in American foods, and the way our food is managed.  From Amazon.com's review:
Upton Sinclair’s muckraking masterpiece The Jungle centers on Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant working in Chicago’s infamous Packingtown. Instead of finding the American Dream, Rudkus and his family inhabit a brutal, soul-crushing urban jungle dominated by greedy bosses, pitiless con-men, and corrupt politicians.

While Sinclair’s main target was the industry’s appalling labor conditions, the reading public was most outraged by the disgusting filth and contamination in American food that his novel exposed. As a result, President Theodore Roosevelt demanded an official investigation, which quickly led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug laws. For a work of fiction to have such an impact outside its literary context is extremely rare. (At the time of The Jungle’s publication in 1906, the only novel to have led to social change on a similar scale in America was Uncle Tom’s Cabin.)

Today, The Jungle remains a relevant portrait of capitalism at its worst and an impassioned account of the human spirit facing nearly insurmountable challenges.
 Give me a course of study and I'll easily provide you with the literary material that would comprise a thesis or grounds for a research topic/paper:

1.  History: legacy of humanity/civilizations/societies
2.  Psychology: heights and depths of human psyche
3.  Zoology: study of animals (and relationships to humans)
4.  Sociology: social problems and other cultures
5.  Geography: other places and habitats; environmental issues
6.  Math: reason and deduction
7.  Speech: communication
8.  Art / music: balance of form, rhythm, and structure
9.  Science: laws of nature and cause-and-effect
9.  Marketing/Business:  Business/economic strategies

Analyzing and interpreting literature helps develop critical thinking skills.  The power to analyze problems and make convincing written and oral presentations is a major quality of leadership and general excellence.

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