Because why waste money on an English degree when you can just watch Disney movies?
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How much more than what is so clearly discussed in this article does EVERY student need to know about literary devices before we send them out into "the real world"?
I am not suggesting the the essence of understanding literary devices is unimportant. But rather that the basics of literary devices are so clearly explained here, that the vast majority of students might well "get it" and "get it well enough" to begin seeing these devices at play in the increasingly challenging readings expected of them in the upper grades.
I've often, and as recently as in yesterday's post, posed a concern about the degree to which literary reading instruction succeeds or fails in creating life-long readers. Or, put more bluntly, the degree to which literary reading instruction encourages or discourages the creation of life-long readers.
As English majors, I'm certain (?) that none of us could even imagine what is lost in reading among those who did not major in English and therefore are completely oblivious to the literary value of "Anagnorisis" in a well-crafted story.
No! "Anagnorisis," You know when a character who doesn't get it finally gets it. A character's important realization that he or she hadn't known what he or he hadn't known. You know. That sort of thing.
Of course, I'm cherry-picking one of the much more obtuse literary devices to make my point. Truth be told, I'm not sure that "Anagnorisis" is a term that I had ever run across before. And, yet it is the name, apparently, for a literary device that has been at the heart of discussion starters in my and probably your classrooms forever.
I've wondered aloud about whether our focus in literary analysis ought to be built upon a more delicate or fine-tuned balance between encouraging many more of our graduates to continue reading literature as an ongoing life practice and encouraging at least some of our graduates to have become so engaged in literary reading that they go on to major in English and even pick up the sacred torch of teaching literature.
Though both goals are worthy, I worry about the extent to which the latter focus might be counterproductive and dare I say fatal in the pursuit of the former focus for far too many of our students.
I have no doubt that the skills and appreciation for literary reading associated with literary scholarship can play a large role in achieving both goals. While at the same time, i can not help but be concerned about the point at which the extensive attention to the scholarly side of literary analysis also plays a major role in the declining interest in reading of many of our students as they transition from childhood stories to the literary challenges associated with stories taught in upper grades that have to be dissected at levels leaving too many students with a sense that the value of literary reading is trumped completely by the difficulty of seeing what it is that their teachers seem to see between, rather than in the lines "of last night's reading."
So even as a high school teacher, I might begin a course with this article as a discussion starter, followed by a brainstorming session regarding how many stories in print OR film OR around the Thanksgiving table when the old folks are retelling those old stories they enjoy telling and hearing no matter how many times they've sat round the Thanksgiving table boring the children to death with those old "alreday heard that one about a million times" stories.
I know my students, whether they were future English majors or not, could fill a few class sessions "seeing" these literary devices at play in all sorts of stories they had encountered.
And, by the way, as" just an aside," do you remember how much you looked forward to being promoted from the children's table at Thanksgiving to the grown ups' table?
How great was that going to be?
hmmm... maybe ""Anagnorisis" is a more valuable literary device than I had thought it was way back when I began jotting down my thoughts on this artice.
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