The Reader's Dilemma

javier's picture

How do we read? -- "To learn about new things!" - I'm sure someone is thinking that right now. It's true: we do read to learn, but that's not the question. My english literature class is the toughest subject I'm dealing with this year even though I'm passing with a B. (It's an AP class by the way, which makes me a smart answer.) The teacher warned us to prepare for the wild ride. Unfortunately I'm hanging on the door of the car and it won't stop.

I like learning about new things and I also like reading. But I hate how I have to read a 600+ page novel to get one major theme out of it that's hidden in there, somewhere. I'd rather see a movie for 2 hours to learn something than read for 2 months (I'm very busy with nonsense) and still feel puzzled.

Friday's psychology class is taken over by a substitute teacher who is actually a history teacher. I know this because he's invaded other classes in the past. My peers and I talk amongst ourselves whilst doing classwork and he walks around the classroom checking on us.

"This story doesn't have an allegory, it's mostly made up of symbolism!" I tell my friend who may not care about what I'm saying.

"What I hate is how they put us 17 yr. olds in an AP literature class and expect us to understand these complex ideas. For goodness sake we are not old enough to understand certain aspects of life." (I'm paraphrasing what I said.)

The teacher walks over and I explain everything to him.

I can't exactly remember what he said but I know what he meant. He says that to gather background info on stories we need to understand the historical aspect of when it was published. That part I overlooked. He says that we need to read anything we can get our hands on: novels, short stories, essays, articles, plays, anything we can gather knowledge from.

I appreciated the advice. At least he cared.