Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Good" Literature

What makes "good" literature? I think anything that gets a person reading could be classified as good literature. However, I look at all the books that are banned, such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which I would classify as a "good" books. So, where am I going with this?

When reading "Committee of Ten," I was quite taken back on the following statement: "to cultivate a taste for reading, to give the pupil some acquaintance with good literature" (86). Okay, I completely agree that one of the goals of teaching English is to challenge the students to read on their own. This is why many high schools do independent readings throughout the year, also known as DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). However, I wonder what classifies or who classifies literature as being "good"? Is there even such as thing as "bad" literature? I understand that sometimes there is appropriate and inappropriate literature (whether it is age, theme, etc), but even if it is inappropriate, does that mean it is bad? Even though I am not the one to have all the answers to the questions, my personal opinion is that there is no such thing as a "bad" book. So, I wonder what the people involved in the committee of ten where thinking when they placed the word "good" in that statement.

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