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Akira Soto

English 40 great books


Mr. Clemons

Secular rebirth

William Carlos Williams wrote, “It is difficult/ to get the news from poems/ yet men die

miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there”. He is saying that poems can help us learn

to live. Men look for final narratives which, Edmundson described as “the ultimate set of terms

what we use to confer value on experience. it’s where are principles manifest(25)” in poetry, art,

and literature. When men do not find their final narrative, they die miserably. Religion, more

preciously religious conviction, has been the traditional source for final narratives, but religion

does not provide a final narrative for everyone. In The Future of an illusion Freud wrote that a

large-scale turn away from religion is imminent. Matthew Arnold agrees with Freud that

religion is on the decline; Arnold said, “ Our religion has materialized itself in the fact, and now

the fact is failing it. But for poetry the idea is everything”. The next place to find meaning is

poetry and literature. The literature that is valued suggests that humans have to fins way without

the comfort and strain of faith. Literature and religion can work together to form a final


The reason why it is difficult to find final narratives is most of what is out there is

entertainment. popular culture for the most part does not provide a truth that can be lived out. it

is a diversion not a guide to life. The key is to find books that will provide a final narrative.

There is not one book that will work for everyone. This belief has an individualistic notion

because people respond to literature differently. People will find as many right ways of living as
their are people who respond to such ways. The belief that literature has multiple truth is a

democratic belief.

In the speech Sans Words, Sans Ideas, Sans Much of a Chance by Bruce Gans he says

serious literature can change lives. He said, “it enables you to see dignity and importance in the

lives of those whom you would otherwise be blind to. It reveals to you a fundamental truth about

human existence you did not know before”. He says to not be aware or to not be able to

comprehend serious literature is to “live a poorer and less comprehending life”. Gans focus on

serious literature seems to agree with Williams that the news is hard to find. Gans idea that

literature changes lives also agrees with what Williams wrote.