Quit Being so Selfish!

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EL 266

"But if you want to read like a literature professor, you need to put aside your belief system, at least for the period during which you read, so you can see what the writer is trying to say" (Foster 120).

So many times I find myself at the very basic analysis stage of literature, relating it to myself. While that can be good sometimes, in order to develop a greater understanding of the work, I must put aside myself. Not every author was trying to write something that directly relates to me. They don't even know me!

It is more important to take a step back, forget what I know and what I believe, and simply take the work for what it is. Then I can really see the ties it has to other literature and compare it with other works, instead of myself.

Quite frankly, I don't find this type of reading enjoyable, but I know that it is necessary as an English Literature major. When your professor gives you an essay test on more than one work, he is not looking to see how much you felt the literature related to you,but instead how you relate the works using specific examples. Sometimes it just has to be done. 


Very well put! Yes, comments that you post on your blog or things you say in class to get the conversation started can certainly be about your personal reactions, but I already know you can write that way because you wouldn't have passed high school English otherwise.

While it's never possible to leave our opinions and biases completely behind, our task in the literature classroom is to study the work itself. Thanks for reminding us so effectively.

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