In literature, sometimes depending upon what you read will make you think about what is good literature and what is bad literature. My definition of ‘good literature’ is literature that helps you learn and understand as to what happened and why did it happen.
‘Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America’ by Benjamin Franklin (pp. 462-466) is good literature, Benjamin talks about how the Native Americans are just the civilized as others. On page 462, Franklin states ‘Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs.’ In this sentence, he is implying that the Natives think that what they are doing are civilized just like what we think that what we’re doing is civilized.
In Thomas Paine ‘Common Sense’ text, he’s backing up his arguments with details that readers can feel and make connections to. He states ‘I have heard it asserted by some, that as America has flourished under her former connection with Great Britain, the same connection is necessary towards her happiness, and will always have the same effect’ (pp. 684). Paine believes that America should get independence from Great Britain because of the government. He says ‘Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace, and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin, because of her connection with Britain.’ Just by America being dependent upon Great Britain, things will not go right for her. This text is good literature because the audience will understand as to why he wrote this.
I would consider Edgar Allen Poe ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ on page 666 as bad literature because you cannot learn or get any information from it. In the text, Poe wrote about how a man was freaked out by an old man’s eye. One night, he decided to kill the man and once the police showed up he started going insane. I don’t see how this is good literature because it doesn’t teach you anything. It’s just a short story for entertainment.
Hawthorne’s ‘The May-Pole of Merry Mount’ is bad literature. He labeled the Puritans as bad people when actually they are the people who believe that God is the reason why they should change their ways. On page 362, he describes them by saying ‘But a band of Puritans, who watched the scene, invisible themselves, compared the masques to those devils and ruined souls, with whom their superstition people the black wilderness.’ With the Puritans being characterized as bad people, there isn’t anything you can learn from this.
The reading ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave’ (pp. 1159-1228) is very good literature. Through the years of early America, slavery was a huge thing. In this autobiography, there is information that you can learn about his life as a slave. I say this is good literature because as I read, I could feel and visualize what he wrote.