The Role of Literature in Human Rights

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Kelly Gutierrez
The Role of Literature in Human Rights

Throughout the novels, there was an emphasis placed on emotion. The different emotions that are alluded in the different novels reinforce the kind and cruel nature of man. Literature allows us to examine the human condition for all its beauty and all its imperfections. In Maru's Bessie Head, it is made clear that certain emotions hold great power: "he sometimes had vicious, malicious moods when every word was a sharp knife intended to grind and re-grind the same raw wound" (3). When reflecting on Leguin's The Word for World is Forest, emotion was presented in a way that helped define whether someone was human or not. The lack of emotion seemed to indicate a loss in one's value or worth as a human. Emotion is a powerful force because it carries within it experience and power. As humans, emotion connects us in that we all experience pain, loss, happiness and anger. Contuinuing on with this idea, the use of emotion in literature allows us to create memories and grow as individuals. It forces us to examine ourselves and calls us to search for ourselves. We are not perfect, and literature reassures us and allows us to learn from our imperfections.