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Paper Topic:

Is the Study of Literature Good For Something?

Using Literature as a Gateway to Critical Thinking

Sometimes , the groans can be heard clear across a campus , and they resonate in memory for years . When a professor assigns a text for reading , anything from the poem Just to say ' by William Carlos Williams to Herman Melville 's Moby Dick ' the students are rapid to react as if they have been handed a death sentence . In some cases , this is because they have so much their reading on their plates that they just feel overwhelmed , but many times , it is a matter of

their previous failures to grasp anything meaningful from a literature assignment . This later is the primary point of importance in continuing to distribute the literature . Many university students lack a fundamental grasp on the tools they require to read and write critically , which in turns leaves them without the ability to think and reason in logical and critical terms

The influence of critical thinking on the success of a student at the university level is undeniable . It will influence how well they comprehend the texts in front of them . It will affect the way in which they can relate one text to another across classroom and semester bs . It will also have a great effect in the way in which they can communicate their ideas to both their peers and their instructors . The way in which a student learns to read and produce written work will be the fundamental core of their language and communication abilities without regard to area of specialization

This learning begins very early in childhood . Learning to read as a child one develops a sense that the author is the beginning and end of the page , and the words used are there for the sole purpose of the surface story . Once a student is capable of surpassing this stage and he or she begins to consider the works on a deeper philosophical level the real learning begins . The student will begin reading for more than simple content and an entire new world will open up full of possibilities

Many students will never learn to recognize the deeper or more subtle meaning in many of the texts unless they are first exposed to it in literature . Poetry is exceptionally useful for this purpose . The allusions , worked in through metaphor , simile , and symbolism , give a deeper insight to the position of the author from the outset . The famous lines of This is Just to Say ' by William Carlos Williams provides an excellent example for this type of inquiry

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

If five students are asked what the narrator is really speaking about the instructor will likely get five , or more , differing opinions . The poem may be about real plums . The poem may be about the consumption of personal space or time . The poem may be speaking on the conceit...

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