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An escape from reality?

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Artistic endeavors such as music, painting, literature, and drama enhance our understanding of reality. Artists strive to create works that symbolize and represent phenomenon that occur in real life, through employing emotions, images, or words. In fact, the majority of artists begin movements to open their viewers’ eyes to truly perceive the world that they live in and transform society.

For example, during the Renaissance, painters, sculptors, and musicians all strayed away from idealism. Instead, they began to focus on everyday aspects of life, hoping to abandon the old habits of the Middle Ages. Establishing his career during this era, the artistic genius Leonardo da Vinci influenced contemporaries to start being more realistic in their artwork. Drawing detailed images, da Vinci also made available studies of the anatomy of the human body. He used art to spread knowledge, helping the generations to come to solve the mystery of mankind.

In other words, art can aid in spreading messages that relate to reality. For instance, today, in modern society, many innovative artists create art from trash, raising awareness about the process of recycling. They hope to realistically portray the actual state of the environment that is deteriorating around us, to instigate citizens to take standard precautions in waste disposal and learn to value nature. This is not an escape from reality- this type of artwork rather lucidly depicts the current conditions of the world that we live in. In the Progressive Era, journalists and novelists wrote, not to entertain readers nor to introduce utopian worlds in fictional novels, but to instigate reform. They worked to attack social injustices and restore American democratic ideals.

A particular book, The Jungle, surprisingly revealed the unsanitary conditions of the packaged foods that Americans ate. This eye-opening novel led people, including President Roosevelt, to realize that laws had to be enacted to regulate the hygiene of food-packaging factories. Civilians were now aware of the corruption in industries thanks to the Progressive writers. Creative thinkers gave eyes to the blind and knowledge to the ignorant. Throughout the centuries, art has caused several intellectual and social revolutions by enhancing people’s understanding of reality.

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