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Literature

By Ajay Krishnan

“What did the author mean by this? I expect a deep literary analysis essay, due tomorrow.”

This is a daily struggle for me in Literature class. Analyze this, annotate that, you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve constantly wanted to say that I do not care and I think that others feel the same way.

Looking at the pages, it feels I am learning a foreign language (in fact learning a language like Spanish is easier). One time, I thought a chapter was about a girl finding a guy she liked who later died; it was actually about a guy trying to send money to his family in a foreign country so they could immigrate. However, maybe it is not the fault of the actual class; rather, it could be the curriculum taught. Here is what would make this class more interesting.

First off, if the words “coming-of-age” or “thought-provoking” are in the book’s synopsis, it is not going to work out well. What happens in these books is a complete lack of plot and instead a series of random events with supposed significance. As a result, any plot-points that would be interesting just have all excitement sucked out of it. Note that dystopian worlds are a delicate matter. They can work well, like in Ready Player One, but they can also just make the book more complicated and boring, like in Mistborn. Take precautions with them. Lastly, get rid of structure. A great example is annotating. This does not help me and instead makes reading somewhat of a chore. Instead of deep analysis and rigid essays, let the readers come to their own conclusions. Do not use structure; use activities. For example, for To Kill a Mockingbird, do a mock trial. For The Giver, engage in a simulation with people acting as different roles. For The Call of The Wild, map out the life of a sled-dog. There are so many options, yet the system is stuck with these rigid tests, annotations, and essays.

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