Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Study of Literature Essay -- English Literature Essays

The Study of LiteratureI finally understand the study of literature. As an English major, a reader/ writer/ poet who has spent a great deal of time reading the works of others and writing about them, I am reminded of something I have heard my father, a teacher, say repeatedly about the modern American attitude toward education. Nobody learns just to learn, he observes sadly, pointing out the way in which students often view specially higher education as some kind of training ground for a career. I know exactly what he means. Every time psyche asks me what I plan to do with a degree in English, I am reminded of the inquisitive student who interrupts a classroom lecture to ask in earnest Is this going to be on the test? or the equally deplorable Do we have to know this? The clear message in these questions is that zippo wants to waste their precious time learning something that wont immediately benefit them in some way. The majority of students insist on expediency and efficienc y in education. Our finishing oriented society has resulted in a student that retains necessary information in short term memory long enough to regurgitate onto an exam, track down the course, grab a degree, get a job, make money, prosper. Next. Occasionally, however, there comes the English major the enigmatic, bookworm type, who puzzles his classmates by carrying fiction while they tote science, mathematics, and Business. They examine this unidentified creature, fascinated by one who displays such a blatant disregard for wealth and success. They poke this animal, wondering why he would live this way, and what possible steady-going can come from poetry. And once in a while, the prodding and gawking gets to him. The English major is forced to ... to know this? my answer is a resounding yes. Will this be on the test? Daily. The test is daring to live in a world where sometimes it seems that all is lost. Love, friendship, sadness, grief, even contentment are bet ter still in the context of a heartfelt poem or story. Thoreaus Walden romanticized my isolation however, it may have been Updikes Rabbit or Edith Whartons sad portrayal of cold in Ethan Frome that brought me to that state. Poetry and literature are so passionate as to inspire the reader in spite of himself. I can no more go the effects they may have on me, than I can the way in which I react. They are practical guidelines, manuals of living. They can hurt or heal, make up or destroy. When one has a better understanding, though, the experience is wonderfully enlightening. And I need to know. I use them everyday.

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