Are TV shows and movies considered literature?

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Are TV shows and movies considered literature?

Peering through the Lenses: A Novel Perspective

When you consider literature, what comes to your mind? Novels, maybe some poems or plays. Perhaps the esteemed works of authors like Shakespeare or George Orwell hit your fancy. What if I were to propose to you that your favorite television series or movie might also fall within that ambit? Before you splutter out your coffee onto your screens, let me elaborate on this idea of viewing TV shows and movies as literature.

Characteristics of Literature

Let's begin by examining the key features that define literature. Literature, in its most traditional form, is comprised of novels, dramas, and poetry which serve to convey a certain idea, emotion, or message. It involves strong character development, gripping plotlines, thought-provoking themes and dialogues, and the use of symbolic and metaphorical language. Interestingly, each of these features can also be found in a TV series or a film script. Albeit, they manifest in a visual rather than a written narrative. It could be said that the charm of TV shows and films is their ability to translate the profound complexities of a written narrative into a more tangible, easily digestible format.

Moving with Motion: Visual vs. Written Narrative

Hold on a second, Caspian, aren't you being a little too quick to equate visual storytelling with the written word? That's a valid point. While TV shows and films share common themes with written literature, the mediums differ fundamentally. In written literature, the reader must use their imagination to 'see' the scenes and 'hear' the dialogues. In contrast, visual narratives provide a ready-made scenario that requires less imaginative effort. There's a scene from the TV show "Friends" where Joey "puts Little Women in the freezer" because he anticipates Beth's death is coming up, and he can't bear it. Hollywood practically did the same thing for us, didn't it? They tucked away imagination in the freezer and served us visuals on a silver screen. Yet, these visual narratives carry their merits and possess their unique charm.

Immersive Realms: The World of Visual Storytelling

Notwithstanding the obvious differences between the two, visual storytelling has emerged as a budding form of literature in itself. Television series and films take viewers on a sensory journey of sounds, sights, and even feelings, that transform static words into discernible environments and relatable characters. A well-scripted movie or TV show, much like a good book, inspires, enthralls, and sometimes makes you reconsider your entire life decisions. Let me share a little anecdote with you. A few years ago, I remember watching a psychological drama and was so moved by the protagonist's emotional struggle, I ended up staying up all night, my mind spiraling in introspection. I felt exactly the same emotion as when I'd read "Catcher in the Rye" for the first time.

The Evolution of Storytelling

The evolution of storytelling tools is another factor to discuss. There was a time when stories were passed down orally until we discovered the art of writing. Novels and dramas then took a center stage, survived the birth of films, and are now challenged by the uprise of digital content. These transitions of storytelling platforms are fascinating and they encourage us to appreciate newer forms of literature. Can they not coexist? Literature is, after all, a reflection of human life articulated through words or visual mediums.

Influencing Society- Beyond Entertainment

TV shows and movies do much more than merely entertain their audience. They are instrumental in disseminating values, encouraging discussions, and setting social norms. Just like literature, these visual narratives have the power to bring about social change and provoke thought, thus enriching our understanding of the world and our place within it. Remember how "The Matrix" questioned our reality? Or how "The Handmaid's Tale" started conversations about feminism and individual freedom? They offered valuable commentary on societal and technological issues, much like a classic novel would.

Conclusion: The Crossroads of Art and Perception

So, the question remains, do we classify TV shows and movies as literature? That choice ultimately rests upon our individual perception of what constitutes literature. At this crossroads of art and perception, my belief is clear. While recognizing that movies and TV shows are inherently different from written literature, I vouch for the richness they bring to the canvas of storytelling. Their ability to ignite emotions, heat up ideas, stimulate thoughts, challenge concepts, and communicate the human narrative beautifully aligns with the very essence of literature.

Caspian Beaumont

about author Caspian Beaumont

Hello, I'm Caspian Beaumont, an entertainment expert with a passion for cinema. I've spent years studying various film genres and their impact on audiences. Through my writing, I strive to bring attention to both mainstream and independent films that deserve recognition. I also enjoy analyzing films from a cultural perspective and exploring their underlying themes. My ultimate goal is to share my love for movies with others and spark engaging discussions.

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