A Mandatory Analysis of Mandatory Reading

Jackson, staff

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As a student at Springville, I, like many others, have endured the hardship that is mandatory reading. The stress of this is not brought by the reading itself, as I like books and literature, but only the fact that it is labeled as mandatory. Something about having to annotate and analyze every ounce of a story takes away the imagination and inventiveness of what makes reading special. And I believe I have discovered why that is: The more an artist details his masterpiece, the less room for interpretation of the viewer. The more the artist tries to convey his own will and beliefs through his painting, the less the viewer can find their own meaning in it. This concept is also imbedded into literature. The more and more students are pushed to analyze what the author is trying to convey, the less the student is actually able to glean the undertones that relate to their own mind. They are trying to find the “correct” meaning of the text instead of looking for something that is meaningful to the readers themselves. And this is not to say that imagination is being squashed and prohibited; some teachers actually promote the use of creativity and diversity in analysis, but this does not overshadow the fact that as soon as something is labeled as mandatory, it stops becoming a pastime, and then becomes a stressor, as students will stop thinking about the emotion and images of the story, and think only of the grade that is dependent on their analysis meeting par.

I cannot say that I have a completely fool-proof plan for fixing this. But I do have a few theories: One would be allowing students to analyze a book of their choice, possibly one that they have previously read, or one that piques their interest, and have a complete analysis of what they believe is the text and its purpose. As long as they are able to back up their view adequately with evidence, that would promote intuition into their interests in an in depth manner. Another would be the increase of Socratic discussions in curriculum, as communication of personal analysis allows the broadening of the readers’ view. And, personally as a student, I can say that they are actually really fun.

These are just two of many possible solutions to the drabness of mandatory reading, and I believe it is possible to integrate it into our current curriculum. I am by no means saying mandatory reading makes the class unbearable, but I am saying it could be better catered to the broadening of the students’ minds.

I will also add there are many books that I would have never known about if they were not assigned through school, but it’s not really the problem of the books. It’s how we go about analyzing them.



About the Writer
Jackson, Staff

My name is Jackson. I love Jesus, writing, band, and chicken 'n' waffles. I am the drum major for the Mighty Band from Tiger Land. I also love movies and...

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A Mandatory Analysis of Mandatory Reading