Why we need to study literature

idk who needs to hear this but when your english teacher asks you to explain why an author chose to use a specific metaphor or literary device, it’s not because you won’t be able to function in real-world society without the essential knowledge of gatsby’s green light or whatever, it’s because that process develops your abilities to parse a text for meaning and fill in gaps in information by yourself, and if you’re wondering what happens when you DON’T develop an adult level of reading comprehension, look no further than the dizzying array of examples right here on tumblr dot com

Kendallroy (via Babyslime) on Tumblr.

I was trying to say this to my 13-year-old the other day, as we were discussing their choice of “Spanish” or “English Literature” as elective subject next school year.

Being able to read subtext is a life skill.

Kendallroy followed up with a longer text, from which I especially liked:

instead of taking a piece of writing at face value and stopping there, assuming that there is no deeper meaning or thought behind the words on the page, ask yourself these two questions instead:

1. what is the author trying to say?
2. what does the author maybe not realize they’re saying?

because the most interesting reading of any piece of literature, imho, usually occupies the space in between those questions.

 

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