Critical Approaches to Literature Should Not be Required of English Majors

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Critical Approaches to Literature Should Not be Required of English Majors In the controversy that surrounds the issue of requiring English majors to take Critical Approaches to Literature, it is not important whether the course is academically justifiable, but whether requiring English majors to take it is justifiable. By thinking about this issue in this way, I have concluded that Critical Approaches to Literature should not be required of English majors. The main reason for including Critical Approaches to Literature as a required course for English majors is to incorporate a sense of multi-culturalism and feminism into the English major. I would be the first to agree that writers such as Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes, Beth Bryant, and Sherman Alexie should be required reading for all English majors at some point in their education because these authors and their works do bring a dimension of multi-cultural appreciation and feminist understanding to the student's literary background. However, the Critical Approaches to Literature class that I attended did not teach me to appreciate the literature of other cultures; instead, it taught me how to analyze Western Literature as if I were a sociologist or psychologist. In this class, I began to feel that there was a hidden agenda imbedded within the course's objectives. This agenda was to destroy the literature, which I am familiar with, of the culture I have grown up in, and to force me to appreciate the literature of other cultures along the way. It did not work. By saying, "It did not work," I do not mean that I have no appreciation for the literature of cultures other than my own. What I do mean is that if I had not already possessed an appreciation for Multi-cultural and Women's Literature, Critical Approaches to Literature would not have conveyed this appreciation to me. I firmly believe that the poetry of Maurice Kenny is some of the most powerful poetry that I have ever read, and Duan Niatum's love-poem "Round Dance" is comparable to the best poetry that Western Literature has to offer. These are authors I know and love not because I have taken Critical Approaches to Literature, but because I have read these authors' works in a Native American Literature course. This is one reason why Critical Approaches to Literature should not be

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