Why so Drab?
"Because writers of poems, plays, and stories are usually not systematic philosophers, it is not appropriate to go 'message hunting' as though their works contained nothing but ideas" (Roberts 120).
Eh hem... this quote definitely stopped me in my tracks. Have we not been taught since middle school to look for symbolism, imagery, metaphors, similes, and so on and on and on and on in everything we read? I guess I have to give our teachers the benefit of the doubt. These texts were given to us knowing that they were literary pieces and therefore, must have reason to be close read. I just found it so strange to read this quote in a school "text book" when we are usually taught how to close read not that we should not always do it.
Of course, it is common sense that we do not usually close read the books we read for fun. These books are meant to be an escape or as Roberts terms it, "escape literature" (123). In my opinion, "escape literature" should be added at least once into the curriculum. I know that there have been books I have read in high school and college that I really enjoyed and would have probably read by choice outside of class. These "works do embody ideas" (Roberts 123). Any idea can be analyzed; therefore, I think a book that is known to be popular amongst society, aka us college or high school students, could be added into the curriculum. I think it is important to refresh students with the reason why they truly love reading. I believe we can take something from almost everything we read. A lot of us found John Henry Days and The Quick and the Dead quite challenging and sometimes painful to read. Don't get me wrong though, I did enjoy parts of each novel. I just think it would be nice to see how books that we read for fun can also teach us something. Maybe then we will think twice when we read for fun and read between the lines a little bit more. We may be surprised by what we find.
Check out Josie's blog for more on the importance of reading literature for fun