So I teach high school English, and for the most part my job is not to teach literature. Instead, I teach literacy. Literature works for a lot of this because it’s rich, it’s dense, it’s good, and it’s timeless, so the notion of themes, symbols, figurative language are done well, correctly, and in a way that is in balance. But for a lot of kids, these kinds of things aren’t always available or appropriate for trying to make someone be a better reader.
But then there’s always the issue of actually trying teach some students to read literature better. This is more of AP territory, and I am not teaching AP this year because I switched schools and so my course is different.
But I think that most people need to learn how to be better readers, and better readers of literature. One, it’s receding. Two, the output of literature is receding. Three, it’s valuable.
This book is a good tool to do that. If you get more out of teaching and the painful parts become less painful, your brain is working and you’re enjoying that reading more. It doesn’t mean you should always be reading literature, but it does mean that you can access it more readily and more often, and good begets good.
For the most part, this is a set of tricks to bring to bear on a given text. It’s a way of seeing more than a way of looking, so it’s less about how to look for these literary elements as they show up, and more of a way of acknowledging and validating finding those elements as they occur. It’s not a BA in a Book, but it’s some basic tools that most English majors are given as sophomores.