Reading John Gardner's On Moral Fiction, I found some ponderings on the purpose of art that strike me as profoundly true:
"Moral art in its highest form holds up models of virtue."
"Great art celebrates life's potential, offering a vision unmistakably and unsentimentally rooted in love."
"In art, morality and love are inextricably bound: we affirm what is good -- for the characters in particular and humanity in general -- because we care."
"True art [. . .] clarifies life, establishes models of human action, casts nets toward the future, carefully judges our right and wrong directions, celebrates and mourns. [. . .] It designs visions worth trying to make fact. [. . .] It strikes like lightning, or is lightning; whichever."
"We need to stop excusing mediocre and downright pernicious art."