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The Following Essay Stresses The Importance Of Teaching Literary Theory To Students In The Secondary Schools, Allowing Them To See The World From Multiple Perspectives.

1274 words - 5 pages

Wan and gaunt, a cerulean-eyed teenage boy named Michael White shifted restlessly in his seat. His teacher, Mrs. Black, was bloviating about literature again. She was discussing The Necklace, by Guy de Maupassant. Michael wished he had a necklace so he could choke himself with it. Literature made him want to vomit. He could not understand the recondite and mystical prose that certainly did not bear any discernible relation to his life. He felt helpless, hopeless, disconnected from the rest of the class who eagerly vivified the words that buried him in loneliness. As he sat there, his reticence and stern countenance were stark contrasts to the sibilant and enthusiastic voices resounding throughout the room. Nearly sleeping now from the teacher's prolix exegeses, he was startled awake by the sensation of a fly crawling on his arm. Fast as lightning he clasped the fly in his hand before it could escape. Then, without provocation, he systematically and adroitly tore its wings off, his face expressionless like a mask. He quickly drew a circle on the tile floor with his pen and gently put the disabled imago in the center. The forlorn fly struggled to escape, but it was a fruitless effort; every time it advanced to overstep Michael's boundaries the forlorn boy thwarted its attempts, putting it back in the center again. After watching this for ten minutes, Mrs. Black accosted him in utter disgust. "What do you think you are doing, Michael"? she barked. Looking away, his heart almost breaking, he sadly and almost inaudibly uttered, " I am practicing to be a teacher.Michael White, like so many other students around the world, thinks literature to anathema, although many of them actually have a facility for understanding and enjoying reading and analysis. They think it is their bete noire because they do not understand how to unleash the hidden potential of the text to discover multifarious meanings that can open windows to the mind and soul, allowing the light of understanding and truth to shine through brilliantly. Unfortunately, most of these students will remain in the dark because of lethargic preceptors who do not show them how to actively engage the text from variegated perspectives. Even analyzing literature from one perspective is a start, and that is something that every student should be able to do, for as Steven Lynn asserts in Texts and Contexts ... you already have a critical theory (at least one) that you use to make sense of literature, even if you're unaware of your theoretical stance (8). Sadly, most students do not even understand that they are reading literature with their own set of values, beliefs, and preconceptions, and cannot successfully weigh them against the statements of the texts to make assumptions, analyze information, and draw conclusions. If we look at the jaded Michael White in the first paragraph, it is easy to see that he already has a theory (at least one) about his teacher's didactic approach, and, ostensibly, he has...

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