A new idea is hard to accept, especially if it goes against the very grain of the society in which we live. Isn’t the purpose of literature to challenge what we believe to be good and provide us with multiple perspectives about literature? Many books are controversial since they explore aspects of humanity or society and tend to make social critiques. Most books in fact are controversial and challenge norms and traditional ideas. For example, John Locke wrote his extremely controversial essays in order to challenge the society in which he lived. He wanted to provide a reason for why the people should be allowed to overthrow a king, but at the same time we still use his revolutionary ideas in order to explore our own conception of society. For Locke, his essays were supposed to be a little ambiguous because it would be treason if he outwardly supported overthrowing the king, but in today’s modern society, we look back at the context in which Locke wrote, clearly seeing how these texts supported the overthrow of power. Locke had many contresial ideas especially regarding people’s individuality and how the government should be made for the people. Today, we are able to see how revolutionary these ideas were, but at the same time these concepts were “landmark” texts when these essays were published. I think that this concept of the landmark canon of books can definitely be applied to what we read in humanities because oftentimes in the moment we fail to see the importance of certain texts. Looking back, we are able to see how these texts shaped how people thought and how they influenced the very society in which we live.
How exactly does a discovery become accepted and normalized?