A Question I Hear Too Often in English Classes

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"One result of this emphasis has been a number of investigations into literary study itself as a cultural practice. What gets defined as 'literature', what texts get assigned in schools and colleges, what kinds of topics get discussed in classes and in standard exams? And who decides the answers to these questions? In short, what social forces influences reading practices and what are the social consequences of these practices?" (Keesey 413).

Hmmm....I think I have heard these questions before. Weren't these some of the same questions we raised at the beginning of the course? Aren't these the same questions that seemed to be raised at the beginning of every English literature course? I have debated about what is or isn't or should be or shouldn't be literature so many times I'm ready to declare everything from the Bible to the messages inside fortune cookies literature. I had to laugh at this part because we are how far into the course and we can still ask ourselves the same questions as we did when we first began it. A little disheartening? Nope...why? Because in literature there is no right answer, so why even bother racking your brains with these types of questions.

I think for me, the last question Keesey asks in this passage is most relevant and useful. As, hopefully, a future teacher, I do have to ask myself what I consider worthy to teach in a high school class and what shouldn't be. I have influences that will make me decide one way or another and most of the decisions will probably end to extternal influences before I even reach the internal influences. However, as a teacher, I will be deciding what the classroom literature will be. So...how will I define literature? It will be whatever doesn't cost me a job and what I think will be challenging enough to students that they will need some of my help to be guided through it.

The repetition of this question in all my college classes makes me wonder if I should raise it to future students...but then how should I answer them if I don't know the answer myself? I guess this would be the beginnig of the explanation that there is no right or wrong answer in literature.

See ya  

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