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A Lifelong Love of Literature

February 3, 2011

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Suggested by Barbara H:

I am paraphrasing from a friend’s Facebook wall her question:

“How would a teen-age boy who is going to work with his hands ever use Literature of England in his work?”

The age-old “How am I going to use this in real life?” question. How would you answer it?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

While I am terribly guilty of supporting a well rounded education for everyone, I think that there are certain things, like AP Calculus, that certain people, like me, won’t need, down the road. Ever. Literature, however, I think is different. The study of patterns, social structure, threads of subverting dominant paradigms and other life affirming themes inherent in movies, comics and the regular flow of every day life, are things that I have always loved in literature.

Of course, I’m a reader, writer, mother and educator and I find these silly “lit” classes to stand out in my mind, looking back. I will say, though, that I think I loved those classes because I saw the patterns and loved talking about them as a reflection, once I got to class, rather than the other way around.

The process of learning how to read and speak and otherwise communicate in a complex manner, is also something that “they” say our children and youth are dropping by the wayside and something that will, eventually, ruin society. I don’t know if all of that is true but I will say that if I have the option of two mechanics and one wants to talk about Dancing with the Stars at a kindergarten level where the other would prefer to talk about Neruda and Rilke, I bet you can guess which one I’d shell out for.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2011 12:18 pm

    I agree about calculus. 🙂 And about reading — it so affects our thinking and reasoning. I think it is sad that literature classes make it so dry and technical sometimes.

  2. February 3, 2011 12:29 pm

    I had the same comment in my response about Calculus. I think a lot of us must agree about that course!

    Regarding your response though, you are right on. It wasn’t until I took a college course and my professor challenged us to expalin our opions OUTLOUD, that my view of literature began to change. I’d always loved reading but it didn’t ignite the passion until I began to speak openly about it. Bravo to those teachers who initiate dialouge!

    • February 4, 2011 12:55 pm

      I will say that I had some completely fabulous english teachers who has backgrounds in theater, politics or other threads that make teaching books SO much fun. the thing is, we shouldn’t even HAVE “engligh” or “lit” classes….each other subject should just have a fiction reading list. Sociology, psych, math, science…they all have ties in the ways society portrays them through print and other media. The teacher surely does make the class on this one!

  3. February 3, 2011 1:34 pm

    Ironically I love calculus as much as I do literature and my response to needing both are that they help you think about the world in a different fashion.

  4. February 3, 2011 2:49 pm

    I think it’s important to be exposed to a variety of subjects because you never know what you’ll need in the future.

    • February 4, 2011 12:56 pm

      Exactly! To say that you shouldn’t be reading books or that your kid shouldn’t at 14 or even 18 or beyond is SO limiting! Give the kid the world and he’ll only know the world as his home, you know?

  5. February 3, 2011 3:07 pm

    I actually didn’t like the question…Partly because I didn’t understand it. LOL! Partly because I realized I have learned nothing from the books I read. Booking Through Thursday

    • February 4, 2011 12:59 pm

      It’s sort of a tricky question and I had to think of it long and hard before I came up wioth a reasonable answer. I think that you’ve probably gained more than you think which is exactly the reason we have to read…we don’t even understand or appreciate the ways in which fiction and other reading things help us.

  6. February 3, 2011 3:26 pm

    here’s mine

  7. February 4, 2011 12:11 pm

    Anyone I meet in real life that can talk about books with me is an instant friend. It’s so easy to make a connection with someone when you have books to talk about!

    • February 4, 2011 12:57 pm

      Yes! Literature is just one more way to broaden our frames of reference. I love this.

  8. February 4, 2011 2:52 pm

    I’m another one who has occasionally found a use for Calculus. Or, at least, Physics. Still, I agree with everything you have to say about literature and want the mechanic who will discuss Rilke!

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