What Are the Effects of Literature?

What if you were told that one of the effects of literature is that it could endanger your health? You might get too worried and may not be here to read this, but I promise you there is more to the effects of literature than you must have been told. 

Literature as the field of the thinker has a thousand and one effects, even those you will not care to notice yourself. 

In previous publications, we have examined such topics as the effect of literature on society, how literature influences change in society, how literature impacts the way we think, and so on, so in this composition, our goal is to see in a little wider scope, the effects of literature generally. Consequently, we shall be looking at this from a number of major perspectives. First: 

The Positive Effects of Literature 

Of course, it is not a piece of news that literature has so far largely been associated with positive effects, but what are some of them? 

The Effects of Literature

 1. Enhancing self-knowledge 

Literature as a gift to humankind is a mirror of life, which does not only reflect our immediate world to us, but also the kind of life we live… Do not be surprised that the writer of a literary work is not exempted from those lives his work can touch. That is another cr@zy effect of literature. It just generally makes us more self-aware, often by showing us those who lived similar lives as ours. 

 2. It Entertains 

Not only is entertainment one of the positive effects of literature, it is also considerably the main purpose of literature. When we get actively involved in reading and analyzing literature, we tend to have the same feeling we get in listening to music or looking up seemingly simpler works of art. It can be fun and really relaxing. 

 3. Changes our perspectives toward life 

Upon exploring the minds of various thinkers through literature, it is reasonable to agree that literature aficionados will possess the virtue of seeing the challenges of life through many different lenses!

It means that by merely psychologically travelling, they are opportune to also amass the experiences of the wise. 

 4. Improves communication skills 

The more exposed one gets to literature, the better chances they have to dramatically improve their communication skills, since it remains that one cannot give what he doesn’t have. With literature, you learn to empathize more, and significantly build your vocabulary. 

Read Also: Smart Ways to Improve Your Vocabulary in English 

 5. Helps us cope with challenges 

According to a source on the analysis of Michael Mack’s How Literature Changes the Way We Think, literature can help us cope with challenges by “changing the way we think about ourselves.” 

This cannot be more true, given that we get emotionally involved with literature and take it for the rather yondermost reality (which is not always the case, ideally). Literature has gained our trust as a guide to handling the difficulties of life. 

It is a reflection of humanity. Additionally, literature serves as a reflection of humanity, universally. If any, I’m convinced this is the most significant effect of literature we’d ever reach. It is an umbrella under which other effects could also come. 

The Negative Effects of Literature 

Not every literature lover thinks that literature may have negative sides or at least take some time to consider what these negative impacts may be, but actually it does have its downsides too, and they are things you might have noticed as well. Some of these negative effects include: 

The Effects of Literature

  – Motive Misinterpretation. Once, I wrote: “Do not give in to ‘undue motivations’ in Are Geniuses Good at Everything?”. The point is that literature (like philosophy) may be easily misinterpreted. The stereotypical views presented to us in many literature works may push us to attempt those things we should ordinarily not be concerned about. 

  – Some books may worsen our feelings of sadness and hopelessness. The things we encounter are not exactly the reason we feel the way we feel, but the way our minds perceive those things, according to Ryan Holiday in his “The Obstacle Is the Way”. This makes us aware of the fact that when emotionally involved with certain tragic works, we may have our feelings exacerbated. 

  – Knowledge is a curse. I know of no proven way one can know what he knows. This is one reason it is hard to convince people about the invalidity of the religions they are born into. 

It may in other words be described as confirmation bias. If some literature has been able to change your view of things, it may be difficult for you to act like every other ordinary person around you. 

  – Escapism. Most of us read literature because we want to escape from our immediate surroundings, but what happens if we do this so often or to a high degree? We may begin to enjoy our own company more than is necessary, and may consequently develop problems associated with loneliness. This is definitely not so much of a big deal if you have the capability to manage it. 

Worthy of note, nonetheless, is that literature does not seem to have any long lasting negative effects. 

The Effects of Literature on Readers

Since literature could generally be regarded as any written material, we would admit right here that the effects of literature on readers are very much like the effects of reading too. So, what are some of these effects? 

The Effects of Literature

 1. Could be detrimental to one’s health 

Literature readers soon develop to be bookworms, and as we know, the hobby of reading is sedentary in nature, excess of which can make you put away other active activities to keep your health intact. 

On this point, you can think of all the health-related issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle. 

 2.  Makes more intelligent 

This is more of an already known fact to everyone. If you want to know more, you have to continue to learn from the most suitable materials for your course. 

 3. Expands awareness 

This is especially peculiar to literature. You get to know about the places you’ve never been to, the people you’d never be able to meet, the events you didn’t attend, and may even be able to speak about these things as though you’re giving first-hand information on them. This is the power of mind-travel in literature. 

The Effect of Literature on Society 

We would be making an expensive mistake if we fail to consider the fact that you and I make the society to which we each belong. Given this, our focus shall be rather reductionally panoramic. We’d take it from individual persons to society at large. 

The Effects of Literature

Misleading books, most of which are usually self-published, can corrupt the mind of readers and as a result change the paradigm of thoughts of a given society of people. More of this in “How literature influences change in society”. 

Further, as gathered from Medium, literature can affect social change by being a tool to convey the viewpoints, belief, and value of other people. It is the platform through which people of different values get to learn about the value of each other. 

In the same vein, literature can determine the future of a people. With literature, we have the past of every society documented. If this society follows the structure of the past to work on their present age, the future of such society could be largely prognosticated. 

Recall also that right from high school level, one would be taught about such terms as ‘foregrounding’ and ‘foreshadowing’ in literary analysis processes in literature. In a way, this imbibes in us the curiosity to look into records critically and use them in thinking of what the future may be. 

The Effects of Literature

Put together, the following are the overall effects of literature we’ve discussed herein:

  – It enhances self-knowledge 

  – It entertains 

  – it changes our perspectives toward life 

  – it helps us cope with challenges 

  – it improves communication skills 

  – it is a reflection of humanity 

  – it may worsen our feelings of sadness or hopelessness 

  – undesired escapism effects 

  – one’s knowledge of literature may be a curse 

  – the ambiguity of motive and its misinterpretation thereof 

  – it can be detrimental to the health 

  – it make more intelligent 

  – expands awareness through mind-travel 

  – it enhances forecast 

  – it can affect social change. 


Charles Bukowski had said rightly that without literature, life is hell. Literature is not a commonplace field, and so its effects may come to us as unimaginable and unprecedented. The effects of literature may also, based on its concept, be drawn from the daunting effects of literary fields alike. 

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