Critical Analysis Essay: The Ethics of Contemporary Literature

Ethics and Modern Literature: Do Contemporary Writers Promote Wrong Moral Values?


For many centuries the Bible with its wisdom and the moral instructions in the Old and New Testament  was the only template to measure people’s life and the way they behave. That is why there remained an opinion that in books could be found answers  to all questions.

A number of influences, wars, revolutions and other reasons led to a re-evaluation of the moral authority of literature.
It must be admitted that the contemporary literature became sex-centered. Contemporary authors make it the main topic of their works. Moreover, many of these authors display the amorous scenes and  infidelity of their characters as perfectly normal. Immorality became the global problem.

Today there are a lot of authors who “throw morality to the winds without compunction”1. Among these are Brooke Magnanti who describes all the possible ways of having sex in her Secret Diary of a Call Girl,  Candace Bushnell, the author of bestselling Sex and the City and of course The Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James,  the fastest-selling novel for adults where sex is the main character. The truth is that nowadays it is very difficult to draw the line between liberty and lechery.

The abovementioned contemporary authors are not talking about moral standards, family values, sins and the divine scourge but through it all they remain extremely popular . The unexpected element is that the shame of erotic fiction remains largely in the imagination, and people who have alreadt read it, feel happy to discuss it openly.

Though these books are meant for adults they became the favourite books for millions of teenagers who adore the plots and are ready to follow the examples: to have sex, to be rich and easy -going, and of course to enjoy life to the full. It is up to people what books to read and what examples to follow but it has always been important to make right choiсe  because it is known that a good book impregnates the mind with new ideas.


1. A. Fowler, “Can Literature Corrupt?” Modern Age 3 (1959), pp. 131-132.

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