Literature and Society: Salvador P. Lopez Essay Interpretation's picture

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Literature and Society: Salvador P. Lopez



In the essay; Literature and Society, it only points out the difference of being a writer as an artist or a writer as a propagandist. The essay only shows how great the influence of the problem of the society on what will be the subject matter of the artist.  Ask for me, it is really depends on the view of a writer. One cannot only write those beautiful things, as if it is the only object that his ideas perceived or seen in the environment in which he belongs.  A writer and his subject matter must be a reflection on what is really happening on the society.  They must focus not only on one thing, not just only beautiful or hideous. This essay discusses the personality of different persons and also the literature and the daily news that concentrate more on political issues. Being an artist does not necessarily mean that you need to draw, paint or write what is good that may consider be the best. Revealing on what is really going on in our society can be considered as the most excellent because without any hesitation, one has the courage to expose the wrong doings of the people which have the supremacy in the society. On the other hand, Lopez designates the “art-for-art’s-sake” class of writers are misusing their talents by not striking at the core issues of society. Instead of producing art that identifies social injustice, these authors try to escape from the real issues. Lopez argues that by not pursuing the real issues. For Lopez, art allows individuals to use their senses to the fullest and to save the beauty of life by describing things that include nature and virtue. Thus, what is beautiful is what is perceived as good and worthy in life. However, life may also consist of suffering and ugliness. The maker of the art, as in the case of the writer, is certainly not blind to the cruel realities of this world, and ultimately realizes that literature can no longer be used as something which is pleasing to the sense but the concealed truth in main crisis.  Therefore, man becomes what we call a “political animal,” which abolish the argument that the writer is a fan of using  beautiful words and golden phrases. Writers like their texts, are part of the world. Thus, one cannot assume that individuals can separate themselves from society and that texts exist for their own sake.  In the first argument; (that literature is worldly) is an important component of Lopez’s saying on literature as communication, which consist of encouraging discussion and among other things, of exposing power relations in society. This characteristic of literature, which is Lopez’s second point, may be noted in the following quote: “The word has soul as well as the body. Writers who consider themselves keepers of the word may not ignore the fact that it has a physical body and possesses qualities of sound and color; fancy and imagination. But the word is more than sound and color; it is a living thing of blood and fire capable of infinite beauty and power. It is not an inanimate thing of dead consonants and vowels but a living force—the most potent instrument known to man.” (“Literature and Society”) Lopez’s believes that the text empowers writers by allowing them not only to portray the world but to invite readers to respond, resulting in interaction and struggle between individuals and texts, which underlies the quality of literature and is expressed in his response to the agreement ruling the arts. For example, in his critique of “art for art’s sake,” for me it is a little problematic because it denies the power of both writer and his text to authorize individuals to speak and act. Like in the essay; writers never write for themselves and their subject matter are not only expressing, implying or suggesting the various aspects of life, but also to invite people to show or express the differences of their opinion on what is really happening in our environment. As a result, there is a constant interaction and struggle between the writers, text and readers. Writers engage with the world by expressing aspects of it through their texts. Such expression may be creative and should encourage readers to react in different ways, consequently making the road more concrete for diversity in thoughts, actions and identity. Added to this the writer is a “political animal” not only because he is a part of the world but also he interacts with it. In conclusion, literature is discursive, or is able to produce and is inscribed in power, by exposing power relations in society and by influencing the writers to challenge such relations. These power relations, among others, are hidden truths, ignored by those who support the argument of art for art’s sake or who try to escape from such truths through ignorance; for Lopez, they eventually defeat themselves by denying their own political nature and by completely supporting a pessimistic view of life. By exposing oppression, encouraging a progressive view of society, and combining sincerity through awareness of the social content of literature with craft, the writer produces texts that are appreciated by many and his creative freedom is not threatened. As I observed Lopez and his social position and the diversity of ideas are exposed in this essay; Literature and Society, it expresses the contradictories not only of a secular critic but also of the world in which he operates.