Sunday, January 18, 2015

Literature as Self-Relfection

I have read "Faust" Part 1 by Goethe in two of my English classes.  I have read other novels that have provided a spiritual experience along the lines of a burning in my bosom and bringing tears to my eyes.  However, this novel provided a different types of spiritual experience, one of self-reflection and a touch of chastisement.

Faust was a great scholar and a man who continually seeks for more than he has.  In a short summary, he sells his soul to the devil for power, lust and worldly things.  As I read the novel, I realized that I have more in common than I care to have.  I am not saying that I have sold my soul but I was made aware of two things: things things I put before God and the abundance that I have. Reading Faust and seeing this character choose things of a worldly nature caused a degree of self reflection about how I value my spiritual life and its up keep.  How often have I chosen social media, physical appearance and other worldly desires and activities over God?

Faust had a great yearning for more than his secular knowledge.  Being an individual who has taken part in the spiritual, I understand why Faust would yearn for more.  Faust's yearning made me realize the abundant blessings i have.  Though a cliche statement, I don't know who I would be or what I would have without the spiritual truths I have been given.  Even so, would I sell my soul for more?  Literature has a way of uplifting and making you feel differently but also has a way of illuminating the need for self-assessment and change.
Spiritual Literary Experiences:
  • reading Wordsworth's "We are Seven" and his understanding of the next life
  • writing literary blogposts on my personal blog
  • Reading "Frankenstein" and feeling that all desire love and acceptance
  • Helping my high school sister with her Shakespeare homework
  • Watching "Phantom of the Opera" after having read the novel and having a literary conversation with a roommate about the tragic character of the Phantom
  • Reading Tolkien's "Return of the King" and seeing that all people have a place and a purpose


  1. I really really need to read Faust! Anyway, I really like that your spiritual anecdote was one of self reflection because I think that this is an accurate portrayal of what great literature should inspire: pondering, self-assessment, and reflection. I have also had beautiful as well as eerie moments of juxtaposition in which I saw who I was by first seeing others.

  2. I love this! How many of us really internalize the lessons we get from the scriptures and lessons that are designed to improve us? Yet, you were able to let a nonLDS book do that for you. Awesome.

    Also, I need to read "Phantom." It seems everyone that does is captivated.

  3. I love what you had to say about blessings. I can see how many times in my life I have felt blessed after reading other types of literature. I even feel blessed that we have literature to learn from. It can help us compare other people's situations to our own helping us understand what we need to do or what we don't need to do. Thanks for the insight!