Types of Literature
by Elijah Shoemaker
I have noticed that there are many opinions as to what qualifies as literature and what does not. As children grow into adulthood, their definitions of literature often change, as well. I have come to the point where I must delve into the question: What is literature? Not just for children, not just for adults, not for any one group, but as a universal – what is literature?
I feel that the definition of literature must be much looser than many scholarly, learned individuals might insist. After all, Dictionary.com gives one of the definitions of literature as “any kind of printed material,” which implies an extremely loose definition. I tend to think of literature as inclusive of not only the classical masterpieces (Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, etc.), but also things which appeal to the youth of today (picture books, novellas, and even comic books).
This is not to say that the latter is equivalent to the former in literary style or quality in any way, but rather that they all still qualify as literature. Again, I am not arguing that one should hold the latest edition of The Spectacular Spider-Man up to compare with The Grapes of Wrath. I am simply saying that they are, by definition, both works of literature
In conclusion, I feel it is prudent to emphasize once again the value I place on the works I have mentioned. This is to include the classical masterpieces as well as the mostly unobserved works when it comes to discussions on literary notoriety. I feel it would be unwise to simply write off the more simplistic works, since they are truly not as simplistic as someone might tend to think. A huge amount of work, thought, creativity, and effort goes into the frequent productions of these other works, after all. They are still merited to be literature.
As a child, Elijah Shoemaker fell in love with comic books. He found he could lose himself in a universe where the underdogs stood a chance at rising above. Constantly pushed around and ridiculed, Elijah found comfort in the graphic novels.
Now, his goal is to bring the hope he found in those graphic novels to children in middle and high school. Bullying and a cruel caste system exist even more than they did when Elijah was growing up. He writes superhero fiction to give the youth of today a spark of confidence that they can come through victorious.