English classes challenge the way the world is perceived
I would like to respond to a disturbing Rant I read on Monday, Sept. 27, 2004.
The Ranter suggested that in a budget crisis, universities should eliminate college English classes that studied literature of questionable relativeness. By the way, relativeness is not a word; I think you mean relevancy. Regardless of the writer's obvious ignorance, English classes that examine literature are not only meant to enrich the student's vocabulary but to challenge the way they perceive the world. As an individual not originally from this community and an individual involved in several literary projects, I am appalled at the lack of value placed in education and free thought. It truly makes me sad to think that ideas that may skirt the everyday onslaught of television and advertising are devalued. Whether or not the individual realizes it, everything one sees and hears every day affects the way they think and operate in their life. Literature is never irrelevant if it affects the individual, which is inevitable given the previous sentence.
There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with literature or the message it may carry. That's why in newspapers everywhere there are book reviewers. Literature can be boring and tedious if it's not your thing, but to take literature out of a liberal arts curriculum defies the essence of just that: a liberal arts curriculum. I also implore the individuals behind the current campaign of banning books in the local high schools to pay heed to this letter. Imagine if literature and the free exchange of ideas were eliminated. I assume that the "Ranter" has not read 1984, "A Brave New World" or "Farenheit 451."
Those works depict what life is like when everyone is told what to think. Farenheight 451 explicitly talks about burning books in an attempt to make the populous completely ignorant and complacent. If a community of ignorant and complacent individuals sounds good to you, I suggest you become pen-pals with Saddam Hussein because that is exactly what he was attempting. A world without literature is a world without questions and the most dangerous world of all is that in which there are only unquestioned answers. It sickens me to think what can happen without literature.
It sickens me more to think that an American, who has all the rights and freedoms that the entire world offers would choose such a horrible existence as that. Please reconsider when you suggest eliminating one of our rights as Americans. You may not like literature, but the proposition of curbing our rights in education is simply intolerable.
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