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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Correia on the Classics

Larry kind of rips into high school English programs, mainly the required reading of "classics" and the absurdity of looking for some deep meaning in a simple story.

Having been one of those kids that, like so many Americans, had to go through high school lit. classes, I completely agree with him.  I will honestly say, I failed the basic level lit. class twice, and it wasn't until my senior year that a guidance counselor finally told me the school had a class where you could read whatever books you wanted, as long as the teacher said they were OK.

I love reading, but I despise being told what I must read, so most of the time I just didn't read the required garbage becuase it would have cut into my reading time with the books I actually wanted to read.  So, thankfully, I actually got to read a bunch of Heinlein and Asimov and get credit for it, and aced the class with no problem.  By the end of the semester the teacher was reading Starship Troopers for the first time (I consider that a bigger success than the A...) and I still love reading.


Aaron W said...

I agree that the classics were often boring to slog through, but they certainly had some merit.
Some of the greatest of those writers played with language in such amazing ways (Shakespeare i particular) that one can't help but learn a thing or two while reading their texts.
However, I frown on elitist educrats who think that *only* the dusty old classics have anything important to say.

Fred said...

Shakespeare had some great plays, but damn it can be hard to just sit down and read it dry in my experience though.

Larry's post just really brought to my memory being required to read "Black Boy" in those English classes I mentioned. Yeah, it's got some good points, and I'm sure I could relate to it more now, but the 15 year old me didn't really care about hearing some stranger whine about how his life sucked growing up. (Racism of that form was rather uncommon in Central Wisconsin...)