The Grey Areas of Literature


Literature is such a field which encompasses almost every other field and every topic we can ever think of. Anything and everything can be made a theme of a literary piece. Connections and similarities between the oddest pairs can be brought out and established and no one questions it.

But even though the spectre of Literature seems to be so open and democratic, it too has some restrictions – those topics which are very controversial to touch upon, those ‘grey areas’ which can be dangerous if ventured into.

As of now, literature has three important and distinctly marked grey areas – politics, religion and sexuality. However much mankind may develop, these three subjects are always delicate to handle and prone to major conflicts and controversies.

No one can refuse the impact of religion, politics and sexuality in devising our personalities, thinking, and the society. But still, a writer has to think twice about writing something that concerns these. Writing the truth about them is always problematic and to make them over fictionalized will be doing injustice to literature itself. Although they are the everyday ‘hot topics’, writing the truth about can pose to be risky.

There have been many writers throughout the history of literature who have dared to break apart from the constraints put on them by the society and break free from the shackles to write about things that although seen as improper by the vast majority, are important to ponder upon.

They have written about things that the people should know and not only about things that a certain section allows the people to know, veiling the actual truth and pushing it under rugs. These ‘rebel writers’, as I call them for going against the flow and daring to write about topics that are otherwise considered to be ‘taboos’, are the real heroes and warriors of Literature.

To name a few of these rare gems are – Salman Rushdie, who had a fatwa issued against him for exposing religion in The Satanic Verses; Taslima Nasrin who is still in exile from her country for writing overtly on sexuality and religion. Some other writers who had to face censorship and ban because of writing on these ‘untouchable’ topics are – Tony Morrison, D. H. Lawrence, Nadine Gordimer, Judy Blume and many more.

From the moment we are born, the influence of the ‘Grey areas’ start in our life. Our whole society is formed based on them. And literature, which is considered to be a mirror of the society, ought to have contents about them within it if it wants to remain true to itself. But the tragedy is that these grey areas are dominated by a certain power hungry section of the society and they are not in favour of exposing the gory realities about these areas to the common people or the vast majority.

The shadiness of the topics enables them to retain their power and stature in the society. And when a brave soul, a fearless writer moves forth to do justice to their chosen field, to fulfil their duty towards the society as writers and write about the actual truth behind politics, religion and sexuality, they are outcast education, banned and exiled.

If literature is to really reflect the society, then we will have to do away with the Grey areas. The writers need to have complete independence of writing whatever they want to without any fear. The existence of the Grey areas proves the colonization of the field of writing. If literature is to be really free, these colonialism needs to be pushed out and thrown aside. Only then can we have a literature that is democratic, all-encompassing and reflecting all shades and colours of the world we live in.



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