Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 3 | Words: 716
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Literature is a very old cultural artifact that has been in existence in human history. When we talk of literature we are basically referring to all the ways and passing information from one generation to another in the various forms. Literature primarily is categorized into two: oral literature and written literature. In the ensuing discussion we are going to look at these two forms of literature as an artifact.

Oral literature refers to spoken and acted literature whose media is words and is passed across generations. As the definition suggests oral literatures is distinguished from written literature in that it involves the oral/spoken words.

Written literature is that information that is documented and preserved for future reference. This type of literature is very reliable as it can be passed from one generation to another without any alteration whatsoever.

Literature in its very nature can be seen to form the backbone of any culture that exists in the world today. Literature developed in millions of years ago and it existed in many forms. Every society in the world today has believes and values embedded and preserved via the literature both oral and written literature. Oral literature is especially useful in many cultures from the time immemorial. This is true because many aspects of culture are passed from one generation through a word of mouth.

In many traditional communities their cultural beliefs and practices are passed through the world of mouth. This involved and indeed involves elders of the community summoning the young people and teaching them the ways of their community. It is normally said that information is power and that is why literature is seen to power culture and prevent community’s beliefs and practices from sinking into oblivion. Literature is like a mirror and it seeks to reflect the image of the community and culture to the outside communities and cultures. Through literature both oral and written one can understand the ways of a people without necessarily interacting with them one on one.

In many communities the need to preserve cultural practices and beliefs of that community for posterity made it prudent for them to find means of ensuring that the vast information is passed down the generations for the sustainability of the community value and to restore order. This prevents the society from being thrown into confusion upon spread of other cultures that are deemed foreign to it because this will erode the initial practices that were deemed superior to others because they were tested and entrenched within the moral fabric of that society.Literature is as old as the man himself and it cannot be associated with a particular cultural period.

It is worth noting that oral literature was highly involved because in traditional times there were limited facilities to document information especially in African communities. However, communities such as those that lived in Egypt and Asia had discovered writing and thus were able to document information and pass it from one generation to another. In African communities apart from oral literature people practiced carving and arts in form of drawing to preserve certain information. The main challenge with the oral information is that it can be altered as it is passed by various people. This information also relies on human memory; apparently human memory is highly susceptible to memory loss and distortions.

The information on a community culture and practices will be continually passed from one generation to another. However, this faces a serious threat from the modernity and urbanization. This is simply because most of people born in urban areas are not brought up in accordance to dictates of the traditions of their ancestors and as such they are torn between modernity and their original culture but because not a substantial portion of population from a community is able to migrate to urban areas then this information will continually be passed across generations.

It is vital to indicate that the technology has a great bearing on literature today both oral and written.in the current world there are various gadgets that are made to store information. Literature will thus be found on the internet and this is gradually going to phase out written literature in physical forms. However, technology will also have an impact on oral literature because such aspects of oral literature as songs and poems can also be stored electronically.

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