College level studies from whatever field should equip students with sufficient knowledge of the contemporary issues. College education should not only prepare a leaner for the career ahead of them, but should teach them vital life skills like critical thinking, communication skills and decision making. Literature, to be specific, exposes young people of college level to a variety of issues in a way that calls for their argumentative and critical analysis. Every piece of literature has a moral lesson than is often than not relevant for its audience. Literature talks about myriad economic and social issues that a student can relate with, and teaches them how to cope with each for the individual good and the good of the larger society. Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewiczin the book Everythings an Argument publish a study by Ann E. Becker showing how women are objectified in the media and the society in general. Becker, in her paper, argues that introduction of television broadcasting in a remote area results in the instigation of behaviors that were not previously there. These behaviors can be destructive or constructive depending on the perception of the audience. This perception, in turn, is dictated by the age of the audience, exposure, and parental control. College-aged women and girls may have different perceptions of television imagery from that of rural Fijian girls, although some can adjust their behavior to cope with what the media presents. Although Beckers study is a real life situation, there are a variety of fictional works produced around the globe addressing similar or dissimilar issues, all which may find utility in college literal studies. In a nutshell, poetry or fictional fit for college-level study should expose a learner to the history of mankind, the present issues affecting the society, and the future that may be influenced by the present.
Mary Wollencraft Shelley conceived the idea of Frankenstein on her trip to Geneva, Switzerland with her sister and brother-in-law. It was in 1816 when the trio challenged one another to write stories about ghosts and monsters when Shelley thought about animation of a monstrous creature by a student of art. The theme in this book is appropriates for teaching in college level. First, the book is symbolic of Romantic era literature which was characterized by emotional expression of an author as opposed to religious dogmatism that had dominated the previous era (Engel 112). Historical revolution of art and literature is a topic of interest in a college setup, since it allows the students to appreciate the progression of writing from primitive stages to the modern era marked by outright expressionism. Frankenstein is a representation of creativity and exploration of imagination beyond the usual human capacity. This book can teach students the perils of dangerous knowledge, and the opportunities available for a person to discover.
CosmicomicsItalo Calvino compiled the 12 stories in an anthology to present a continuum of events that resulted to the current organization of the solar system. All the 12 stories are surreal, although they are related to the common theories about the formation of the galaxies and the solar system. They also allude to the evolution of species and in particular humans. There is one thing that makes Cosmicomics an ideal book for college literal studies. It is interesting to read because of the comical relief it gives to a reader as well as informative of theories passed over time by scientists on the origin of the universe. It has several themes to infer, as well as symbols that can provoke the thinking of a student of literature.
The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx put his idea of class struggle in this classical manuscript that has seen years after years of readership. Marx was a German philosopher and a socio-political commentator who has hitherto remained a protagonist critique of capitalism. In this book, Marx argues that a capitalist society is made up of two distinct classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The former class owns most of the factors of production while the latter provide labor in industries (Pecheux 17). Capitalism is very spread in the country today. Students should be aware of the forces shaping the market as well as the reasons behind the extent of the gap between the rich and the poor. Through the reading of this text, students will be cognizant of the evils perpetuated by the wealthy class against the working class, and thus strive to become better citizens to bring the necessary change in the society.
Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebes Things Fall Apart is classical African literature. Achebe is a West African author who in this book narrates the culture of his Igbo tribe. He addresses a variety of topics like food, leadership and tribal politics that are prevalent in his African tribe. Through this book, students can learn about the African culture and appreciate the effect of colonization on the traditional African society. Students will also learn the impacts of assimilation and cultural exchange on a people. This book is also important for the themes, symbols and motifs that Achebe uses. Power struggles were present in the African traditional societies as they are in the current Western societies. The pre-independence power struggle however, was between the enlightened and the savage divides (Bloom 43). In the novel, the savage group is symbolized by conservatives like Okwonkwo, while the Christian converts represent the learned lot.
This poem is composed by an American poet Edgar Allan Poe. He has produced many poems, although this particular one is a masterpiece. It is the story of two lovebirds, whose union is broken when the maiden in the relationship dies of hypothermia. This poem employs stylistic devices like hyperbole, rhyme, and juxtaposition. College literature students should be able to point out these devices and criticize their usage. Annabel Lee has interesting topics appropriate for discussion at the college level. One of the themes is class difference, and its effect on man-woman relationships.
The Caged Bird by Mary Angelou is a contrast between freedom and detention. This poem is particularly relevant for literature students because of this contrast. It does not employ rhyme in an explicit manner, although its short sentences and abruptly ending stanzas give it a musical license. The poem gives students a challenge to identify the poetic styles used in its composure. The bird in the poem is a metaphor referring to any animate object enjoying the right to freedom. The worm and breeze are the opportunities that freedom presents. The poem can motivate students to work hard in their studies and attain good grades that will grant them financial freedom in the future.
Still I Rise
Maya Angelou in this poem uses repetition to stress his resilience against defeat. Angelou was a black poet, and from this poem a reader can tell that she was a victim of racial profiling. As she says, she has been a subject of misrepresentation in literature, but this did not diminish her dreamsBloom, 69). She says that slavery did not succeed in curtailing her accomplishment. She compares herself with a black ocean, further emphasizing her might and the spirit of perseverance. A poetry student may be fascinated by her use of motifs like oil, diamond and gold.
The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost is a renowned American Poet whose works span more than seven decades. He composed his first poem in 1894, and produced many more afterwards. In The Road Not Taken, he recounts how taking a new road made a difference in his life. The poem is a story of a man who changed the status quo and tried something new. The poem is suitable for study in college because it gives an important moral lesson. It challenges students to pursue new endeavors in life as they dare to discover. It also has interesting poetic devices that a student might decide to analyze as they study this poem. Robert Frost left behind a legacy, and this poem may inspire students with a passion of poetry to compose their poem and kick of their wring career.
Pecheux, Michel. "Dare to Think and Dare to Rebel! Ideology, Marxism, Resistance, Class Struggle." Decalages 1.4 (2015): 12.
Engell, James. "The creative imagination: Enlightenment to romanticism." (1981).
Bloom, Harold. Chinua Achebe's Things fall apart. Infobase Publishing, 2009.
Bloom, Harold. Maya Angelou. Infobase Publishing, 2014.
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