How Reading Literature Shapes Our Beliefs and Opinions

Literature is not just a collection of words on a page. It is a powerful medium that can influence our thoughts, feelings, values, and actions. Literature can challenge our assumptions, broaden our perspectives, and inspire our creativity. In this article, we will explore how reading literature is related to our own personal beliefs and opinions, and why it is important to engage with diverse and complex texts.

Literature as a Mirror

One of the ways that literature is related to our beliefs and opinions is that it can act as a mirror, reflecting our own experiences, identities, and emotions. Literature can help us understand ourselves better, by showing us characters who share our struggles, joys, fears, and dreams. Literature can also validate our feelings, by expressing them in beautiful and powerful language. According to Goodreads, reading literature can make us feel less alone, as we connect with the authors and the characters who speak to us.

For example, if we are going through a difficult time, we might find comfort and solace in reading a book that depicts a similar situation, such as a loss, a trauma, or a conflict. We might relate to the character’s feelings and reactions, and learn from their coping strategies and resilience. We might also feel inspired by their growth and transformation, and hope for a better future for ourselves.

Literature as a Window

Another way that literature is related to our beliefs and opinions is that it can act as a window, opening our eyes to new and different worlds, cultures, and perspectives. Literature can help us learn about others, by showing us characters who are different from us, in terms of their backgrounds, experiences, values, and views. Literature can also challenge our stereotypes, by presenting us with complex and nuanced portrayals of people and groups that we might otherwise oversimplify or misunderstand. According to The Conversation, reading literature can make us more empathetic, as we imagine ourselves in the shoes of the characters and understand their feelings and motivations.

For example, if we are curious about a certain topic, we might find interest and insight in reading a book that explores it, such as a historical event, a social issue, or a scientific discovery. We might learn new facts, concepts, and perspectives, that enrich our knowledge and broaden our horizons. We might also develop a critical and analytical mindset, as we question and evaluate the information and arguments presented in the text.

Literature as a Catalyst

A third way that literature is related to our beliefs and opinions is that it can act as a catalyst, sparking our imagination, creativity, and action. Literature can help us discover ourselves, by showing us characters who challenge themselves, pursue their passions, and achieve their goals. Literature can also inspire us to change, by presenting us with stories that illustrate the possibilities and consequences of our choices and actions. According to The Guardian, reading literature can make us more adventurous, as we experiment with new ideas, styles, and genres, and express ourselves in original and innovative ways.

For example, if we are feeling bored or stuck, we might find excitement and inspiration in reading a book that transports us to a different time, place, or reality, such as a fantasy, a sci-fi, or a thriller. We might imagine ourselves as the heroes of the story, and experience the thrill of the adventure, the mystery, and the danger. We might also apply the lessons and skills we learn from the book to our own lives, and pursue our own dreams and aspirations.


Reading literature is not just a passive or leisure activity. It is an active and meaningful process that can shape our beliefs and opinions in various ways. Literature can act as a mirror, a window, and a catalyst, depending on how we read it, and what we take away from it. By reading literature, we can enhance our self-awareness, our social awareness, and our creative potential. Literature can enrich our lives, and make us better human beings.