Literature is not homework

America’s Great Neglected Entertainment

My goal in this article is to offer an alternative method of viewing literature than the one I was exposed to in the public school system. I was taught that, by the structuring of the classes and curriculum requirements, literature was a painful, line-by-line analysis, as a result of which comprehension of the most basic story elements, such as plot, denied us the opportunity of getting excited about literature. Unfortunately, this leads many people to become disinterested in literature because of their fear that they won’t understand the piece or will find it too difficult to read.

Literature is not homework. Literature books are foremost entertaining, then as a sweet gift, they offer depth and self enlightenment to boot. If you are already a reader and lover of literature, then I wish you slower clocks, for those not yet convinced, I am intensely excited for you.

So writes Caleb Jacobo in his opinion piece for Nation of Change. Is that entirely true? Let’s make a minor paraphrase that possibly addresses the other side of the equation:

My goal in this paraphrase is to offer an alternative method of viewing mathematics than the one I was exposed to in the public school system. I was taught that, by the structuring of the classes and curriculum requirements, math was a painful, equation-by-equation analysis, as a result of which comprehension of the most basic mathematical elements, such as logarithms, denied us the opportunity of getting excited about cyphering. Unfortunately, this leads many people to become disinterested in mathematics because of their fear that they won’t understand the problem or will find it too difficult to solve-for-X.

I knew a woman who spent hours in her study solving all the problems in an impressive complete collection of Schaum’s Outlines and when she settled in for a cosy evening with a cup of Postum and a book of Sudoku, you could see that she was truly entertained. Me? Give me Joyce or give me death! Just try to interrupt my merry reading when Molly is doing her thing … yes, yes, yes.

Is Caleb actually suggesting that understanding literature is the evil factor which makes people not want to read?

What are your thoughts on this?

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