Breakfast Babble: ED’s own little space on the interwebs where we gather to discuss ideas and get pumped up for the day. We judge things too. Sometimes. Always. Whatever, call it catharsis and join in people.
Haw, is that true?
Yes. And there is nothing to haw about in that.
I find this a major problem among teachers in the university. I don’t understand why are we expected to have read everything which is even remotely Austen, Dickens, Conrad or Lawrence.
If you haven’t read any of these titles, teachers do seem to be terrified of you. Obviously, you have to bear the contempt in their eyes – as if the critical thinking that we are trained for is not dependent on how deep we have read but how far we have.
I don’t read the Classics simply because I don’t like them. I can’t relate to them. I can’t always acclimatize to their Englishness or their European-ness. Their whiteness, to be precise. I respect however great Shakespeare might be, but he doesn’t speak to me often.
When you go to people with your aforementioned arguments, they usually have two counter attacks – first, Big Books are great for a reason; second, if it is prescribed by the syllabus, I am obliged to read the books.
Two things –
1. It is hypocritical when teachers ask us to go against conventions, loathe about how the system is rigid, and then go back to despising us just because we haven’t read a book that is conventionally whatnot.
Or when teachers praise other authors for rejecting Europe or the Empire in their writings but force-feed us to abide by that monolith.
2. I am a student. We are allowed to have my set of shortcuts.
I think the problem today is generational as well. Because there were no internet days, everyone was reading what everyone else was reading. So, a group of readers was formed, all of whom had read similar kinds of books.
With the internet today, we are reading diverse books, and the diversity of reading groups is massive. We are under no obligation, no pressure to read a few select works by people who have been given a higher pedestal conventionally.
I find Austen distasteful. I couldn’t make past 50 words of Pride and Prejudice. And I am allowed to have that opinion. Don’t rub the reverence you have for her on my face. That is embarrassing to your life.
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