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Wise Guides: Literature

What can you get from English Literature?

In the past study guides were banned in school, so much so that a student could be suspended if they found one in their desk. This is partly due to the fear that they would give you the ‘right’ answer, which is not always easy to define in English class. “Cheating” is a serious academic crime, but rules are changing. The availability of materials online is one reason for this, but another significant reason is that collaboration, due to new technologies, is threatening the idea of what is original.

There are two basic tasks to finding success in English Literature. The first one is to learn how to answer questions. The other is to always support your work. There is, however, a general principle that needs to be present in order to do well. It is important that individuals learn how to enjoy and understand literature and see the ways in which it can apply to and enrich their lives.

If you read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and you don’t feel the injustice and fragile innocence you have not taken the experience of that book to heart. If you read “The Lord of the Flies” and you fail to bring away from it deep questions about human nature…about your own nature…then you will have missed something important in your own experience.

Learning to find the relevance of literature is important, but admittedly it takes more than a single study guide to create it. Reading and writing skills are ultimately the most important elements of English class, but these are global skills for a high school student and they are strengthened by practice. There is, you might imagine, more that is involved for a student to do well in a course, but these are the basics.

This series is a project to help students to do well in English class. Its purpose is to do this by helping you to both understand and appreciate literature. The first few blogs will be about English studies in general. The next will be about specific works including Shakespeare’s plays, commonly studied novels and even movies. Take a look and see if it works for you.

Who knows? You may even find the right answer to your question.

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