Let’s be clear: I love English, I love writing, and I love books. But I totally understand why people my age don’t read for pleasure,and you know why?
It’s called English Literature. The word makes the typical student shudder. English teachers are like me but don’t understand why kids don’t read. For example, this year we’ve read TKAM, Oedipus Rex, Antigone, Things Fall Apart, done a short story unit, and are now studying Julius Caesar. And me, the reader, hated about 80% of that. I liked TKAM, most of the short stories, and that’s it.
Please explain to me why studying poems and plays written in dense, affected English that we must analyze to understand helps us learn. Please explain to me why Shakespeare is regarded as such a literary stud when he STOLE EVERY PLOT HE WROTE FROM SOMEONE ELSE. (Ironically, we also learn about plagiarism. Okayyyyy.) Actually, just explain to me why Shakespeare is a literary stud and not moldering in peace in the ground. Please explain to me how reading clichéd works that interest no one teaches us a better grasp of literary terms and our fine language.
You know how you make someone love books? You let them find books that don’t meet stereotypical criteria. You let them fall in love with characters on their own, like Finnick and Anne Shirley and Tris. You let words twine around their heart until they can honestly say they love them.
Actually, I’m being too hard on the English teachers; it’s the Boards of Education. My point is you can’t list something as great literature and expect it to maintain a legacy like real literature does, and you can’t expect people to really value it. We create our own ideals for ourselves. We make books literature just as much as their creators do, and just as much as the Board of Education does. So today I leave you with the question: what is literature to you?