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It is intrinsic for human nature to reflect on such questions as the meaning of life and where to search for the truth. People turn to the arts, science or religion to find the answers to these questions. One kind of the arts that speaks up across time about the agonizing truth of human nature is literature. It is not just a short-time form of entertainment or relaxation. Literature is immortal and relevant to all epochs. Florence Dee Boodakian, a professor and a literature scholar, has every right to state, "Literature goes beyond life. It is art; it is an imaginative creation that can tell truths gracefully, subtly through narrative, poetry and the movement of characters on a stage. Any imaginative act suggests possibility, and this is another reason to continue studying literature."

Literature is always fresh and inspiring, because there is no other weapon stronger and more powerful than a word. Literature, in the most profound and subtle way, evokes all kinds of emotions and instills doubt in readers. It is a bridge between the present, the past and the future that speaks to readers about the truth of human existence. It is common knowledge that without remembering our past, there can be no present and future. Literature is a product of human history with values, norms and thinking patterns. It is a mirror that reflects societies of all times and places. When reading literary works, people of all generations are able to experience on the emotional level everything that humanity has ever faced. Readers will never meet the characters in reality and will never participate in events that take place in the story, but they travel in time and use their own imagination as if they are the characters of the story. While reading a book, a person goes through the events together with the characters and identifies their problems and feelings with the personal ones. Thus, in literature, a reader can find an answer to the troubling question or draw a moral. The main idea of what is described remains in their hearts and can appeal to some reflection as well as action. Literature may or may not be related to reality. The meaningful, powerful ideas that the author is trying to convey to the reader are of vital importance. When reading, people become judges of human faults and antisocial behavior. Thus, literature helps to build a just view on life, keep to the truth and respect human values.

Unlike science and all kinds of media that describe evidence as it is, literature expresses facts in indirect, sophisticated and elusive form however enforcing a thought into readers’ minds. The beauty of literature is that every reader interprets a book uniquely and finds one's own moral in the story. While truth is universal, readers uncover it in their personal ways. Thus, truth is multifaceted in literary works, and sometimes it is hidden. With all ambiguity and intricacy of meaning, it lets in millions of possibilities of interpretation for every individual. Therefore, a reader should evaluate the entire literary work and make one’s own conclusion of the meaning of the text.

The Problem of Self-expression in a Marriage and a Feminist in the Literary Works

Taking as an example the literary works of Charlotte Perkins-Gilman (“The Yellow Wallpaper”), Kate Chopin (“The Story of an Hour”) and Susan Glaspell (“Trifles”), it is indeed true to say that “literature is beyond life” (Boodakian). These stories have managed to uncover the most burning dilemmas about which people could not speak aloud in the past and that are relevant nowadays as well. The stories bring up an issue of female impossibility of self-expression in a marriage and a feminist yearning for freedom. Through the depiction of fate of three downcast women, the authors present a shocking truth of women’s oppression by men and appeal to the audience for an action against this injustice. Louise Mallard found a feeling of happiness after the news of her husband’s death and all she could say was "free, free, free!" (Chopin 10-11). Using a symbol of a canary that was killed by Mr. Wright, because it also sang (Glaspell 26), Susan Glaspell portrays how a husband killed his wife’s identity and made her life desperate. In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, a female protagonist believes that she will feel better if she has “more society and stimulus”. However, her husband makes a room with horrible yellow wallpaper her physical and social confinement that will cause a serious mental disorder in his wife. The reading of these stories has left an indelible impression on me and evoked indignation, sympathy, hatred and resentment. The way the authors conveyed the message of their texts made me reflect afterwards the powerful effect of literature on influencing its readers. In my opinion, the mere presence of facts concerning this burning issue of gender relationships cannot affect an audience as much as a subtle style of expressing truth through literature. By applying figures of speech and creating fictional situations, the author skillfully conveys the message of the text and affects the reader’s conscience. I am sure that not only this problem is of current interest. In the ambiguous form through fiction, poetry or drama, literature can artfully appeal to readers and inspire them for a radical challenge.

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Literature introduces people to the world of human thoughts, feelings and activities, where the reader is also a participant. Though fiction is an imaginative way of describing reality, it can tell important truths of life. It is a lifelong teacher as it stores invaluable information about different facets of life and gives a lesson on how to cope with difficulties that people encounter. In the meantime, there is no other instructional material that a person will consume with such delight, curiosity and excitement except a book. Literature enriches human mind and gives an opportunity for an individual growth. It gives an insight to the secrets of life and helps to understand them. At the same time, literature has a powerful effect of persuading people, changing their perspectives and motivating them. A good literary work will never let a reader indifferent, because writing is an emotional outlet of the author, a heartfelt cry to the audience to turn its attention to one of the complexities of human nature. A good work will be passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth as a priceless source of inspiration and experience. Not all works have survived nowadays; a large amount of them has been forgotten. However, true literature has no time frames, it will stay immortal, “beyond life”. This kind of literature will prompt a reader to decide for himself/herself how to find the answers to eternal questions. That is why studying and enjoying literature is essential if people seek for the truth in life.

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