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Literature: The Mirror Of Human Spirit

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Literature: The Mirror of Human Spirit

Throughout time literature has been an expression of unspoken emotions. All authors have dealt with private feelings that they express through written works. A main driving force behind these works is spirituality and all that it entails. Spirituality is a major part in ones daily life; it allows one to know the difference between right and wrong and to act accordingly. Literature is, essentially, a mirror of human spirit. It is who you are and your feelings. When authors write they are expressing their feelings and thoughts; their human spirit. It is said to be divided into three categories; intuition, conscience and fellowship. The intuition aspect of human spirituality guides us through life knowing God has made us a path to follow, despite reason. Conscience plays a part in our everyday life; it helps us to discriminate between right and wrong. Finally, fellowship allows us to seek contact with God. We do this through pray and believing in a certain faith. The works; "Deer Dance", "Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane", the Qur'an, and "Requim" all portray these different portions of the human spirit. Literature is fundamentally art and each piece of art expresses spirituality in different forms.

When Etheridge Knight wrote "Hard Rock" he presented a man torn apart by poverty, racism and oppression. Hard Rock was revered by the fellow inmates. They wanted his courage, strength and ability to survive. Knight makes sure to stress that the inmates thought he was one that was: "'known to take no shit from nobody'" (Knight 1). These feelings play on the conscience category of human spirit. The envious men felt lesser than Hard Rock because they did not possess his attributes. After undergoing an invasive surgery, their view of Hard Rock was not so God-like as it once was. He no longer possessed something they did not have. He, in fact, was below them and they were hesitant to admit it. Knight describes Hard Rock as a "freshly gelded stallion" (Knight 1). He is comparing this transformation to the ruin of the black man; once something to be admired but now torn apart by society.

In the Native American poem "Deer Dance", Linda Hogan describes a people ashamed of their lives. Hogan refers to past mythologies where humans were transformed into animals:

the travelers Circe turned into pigs,

the woman who became the bear,

the girl who always remained the child of wolves,

none of them wanted to go back

to being human. (Hogan 1)

She is suggesting that by taking animal form these Native Americans had bettered themselves. This poem deals with the fellowship aspect of human spirituality. The Indians believed the animal to be a purer form of themselves. These beliefs were based on past written works and religious stories that had been passed down to them.

The Qur'an portrays a major idea of human spirituality. It is about the religion of the Muslim people. The Qur'an was not a text written only by God, but also by his followers. It is believed to be the final word of God as told to Muhammad. The Qur'an is a very sacred text to the Muslims and defines their human spirit. They base their daily life on the readings of the Qur'an; hoping to be closer to God by following his Word. It is not only a collection of biblical stories; but also miracles, legal prescriptions, personal advice and human narratives (Kuskin 48). Muslims use the Qur'an to mold their human spirit; to live the way God had wished. A passage from Sura 1 of the Qur'an states:

guide us along the road straight

the road of those to whom you are giving

not those with anger upon them

not those who have lost the way (Sura 1)

Sura 1, The Opening, describes the Muslim people asking God to guide them on their quest for spirituality. In Sura 81, a passage portrays Muhammad speaking of his interaction with God:

this is the word of a messenger ennobled,

empowered, ordained before the lord of the throne,

holding sway there, keeping trust

your friend has not gone mad

he saw him on the horizon clear

he does not hoard for himself the unseen (Sura 81)

In the final line of this passage: "he does not hoard for himself the unseen", Muhammad is reassuring the Muslims he will divulge all things spoken to him by God. These people believed so greatly in the human spirit that they in turn believed in



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