Literature is a mode of writing that expresses thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards life. There are certain characteristics that make it literature and differentiate from other modes of writing.
Literature can be differentiated from the writing of advertising or journalistic writing. These sorts of writings are meant to be read for few days and not for years. Literature at the other hand can be for forever. It is the quality of ‘permanence’ that gave Shakespeare’s writing enjoyable even today. Literature should ‘hold mirror up to nature’ or should offer ‘criticism of life’ as his writing did. Therefore, a writer is expected to impart his feelings and experiences so that common man can identify with them.
There is not a subject remained untouched by writers. The universal themes such as life, death and love have been all time favorite with writers. For this reason, it is not possible to find new subject. This gives a raise to another quality for literature called ‘originality’. Poets or writers take a subject and give their touch of imagination and craftsmanship. They go on exploring new ways of dealing with the same subjects differently. This becomes their originality. The writing of shakespeare deals with these life-love-death theme but his originality and his unique treatment made his writing immortal.
Literature is therefore, a way of expressing thoughts, feelings, experiences and ideas in words. The main purpose of it is to provide entertainment and pleasure, not merely information. It requires a craftsmanship to produce the best sort of literature.