Dec 24 2010

Leave the Canon in the Past

Posted at 5:36 am under Uncategorized

As I was thinking of what to write, I looked around other blogs. And I thought how could I make my blog as long as theirs or as good. Now that I put my thoughts to paper I feel that the greatness’s of our writing isn’t judged on the length or even clarity, even though it is preferred. Of course the categorized canon would disagree with this.

Based on what we read I’d like to say that we should stray far away from any contact with the name of the canon because within that name exist such formality and restriction. I automatically think of novels I’ve read in the past by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and even Homers Iliad. These are the names that are well known among our society. All wonderful writers but what is it that makes them stand out to our public. How are these authors deemed the great writers of mankind when they no longer protean to us. I have read them, I have enjoyed them, but each time it has been my mind that has adjusted to the different time frame.  Within this class I’ve read books with different styles and because I’ve been taught to focus on the classics. I seem to have forgotten about the books of today.  The Woman Warrior, Persepolis, and Drown for example were not the philosophical books. I’m under the impression that these books were written to simply tell a story. They are about the culture of the author and how they have lived their life.

I know that a majority of us would be quick to run to our computers and enter in 20th century canon and global literature into the search engine hoping that the right answer is easily visible. Instead I rather not summaries what I’ve read on the websites. Let me put what I’ve learned and experienced to use. I’ll think for myself, maybe I’ll get the right answer on my own.

Each class I took this semester focused on one specific aspect of literature. There was British literature, American literature, and African American literature. Now that I think about it none of the subjects crossed over to one another. They did not intertwine and this disappoints me because I was always made to believe that all subjects worked hand and hand. We focused on specific times and life styles.  In global literature we traveled through different times and cultures. We were able experience different life styles. In global literature we had multiple perspectives all within one class but through our small selection of books. This course outweighed the other classes because there were diverse perspectives from other cultures.

In The Sound and the Fury   I loved that we were thrown into the text. There was no beginning for us to be introduced into and there weren’t many explanations. Yet many of us were able to understand the book. I also believe that Faulkner like the other authors we read didn’t care if you understood or if he was going to be part of the canon.

“In time, what do you think will matter to you as a reader?  An English major?”
Personally this is another hard question for me to answer. Now that I’ve read these books I want to stray away from everything that is the norm and associated with the canon.  If it’s a popular book and part of the canon, count me out. As a reader more material like Faulkner’s and Maxine’s will matter to me.  They’ve impacted me because they were so different from anything I’ve ever read. These books put my limited reading material to shame.

 Essentially in my opinion this course should be global literature because through the text we have focused on many cultures, and how people have adjusted in the world. The reason why we should not associate the course with canon novels, they are hard for daily readers to relate to. If a novel is categorized in a canon it gains prestige. This does not necessarily mean the readers will enjoy it. The novels that we explored became our own in the blogs. We struggled at times but there were no restrictions when reading. As we read a novel from the canon category, it is a well known book. I feel the reader does not struggle to understand what the text is about. Because it is so known the reader can skimpily find key facts about it on the internet, and find it in a movie form.

There were two novels that rotated around culture and worked for me. They were Drown by Junot Diaz and The Woman Warrior by Maxine Kingston. Diaz incorporated his Dominican heritage in his novel and we could see it at all times. Kingston included her Chinese culture in her novel and like Diaz she also included her family. The stories are broken in parts and we aren’t always sure if they are part of the same story. The way that the sections are written keeps the reader engaged because we are exploring different situations.

After taking part in this class I approach William Faulkner’s book The Sound and the Fury much more differently. If it had been on my summer read I most likely would have put it down. Professor I think you included this book to show us how different writing could be. Faulkner did not have to follow the usual way of writing, which included a beginning, middle, ending. I believe he rebels against the canon. He appears to write his novel in parts and begins by throwing his readers into the middle of the plot. Yet the sections eventually all seem to intertwine and we find our answers to questions left unanswered in the beginning.

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One Response to “Leave the Canon in the Past”

  1.   rafon 21 Jun 2013 at 6:23 am 1

    Excellent site you have here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

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