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Literature lessons supercede classrooms

Many are taught the story of Daniel and the Lion?s Den as children. They are told by Sunday school teachers, ?So just like Daniel, you have to be brave and trust Jesus too!?

While a six-year-old may take the lesson of applying stories to their own lives at face value, the same experience is replicated in high school English classes. Throughout high school, students increase their vocabulary, improve their writing style and apply life lessons through English classes.

Even though a character may exist hundreds of years before the reader, certain qualities and struggles repeat themselves time after time.

?In English class, we can often see ourselves in the characters,? Jason Herron, ’09, said. ?For example, in [F. Scott Fitzgerald’s] The Great Gatsby , Gatsby tries really hard to fit in with his surroundings. Everyone does that, but through him we see that it doesn?t always work out well; it gets him into a lot of problems.?

While some students may view the class simply as a graduation requirement, Molly Sargent, English teacher, believes the skills learned in English translate into real life.

?I think English is important because it teaches people how to communicate,? Sargent said. ?Students discover how to write, speak and listen, and also how to respect each other?s opinions and disagree. There are more skills than just vocab. and essays.?

Besides the information necessary for passing tests, assigned literature often proves applicable.

?In my English class, sometimes the books we read can hit close to home for students,? Jon Endicott, A. P. English teacher, said. ?We can see some of the same problems and changes made because of these problems in books as we can see in our lives.?

Through the reading of Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, A.P. English students discuss daily challenges played out in classic literature.

?When we read about Hamlet, we can see how decisions affect peoples? lives,? Elisha Quintana, ’08, said. ?He has a fatal flaw of over-thinking things, so when I see his mistakes, I know I shouldn?t beat around the bush, but go ahead with my decision.?

While some are nearing the end of their high school reading requirements, others are just beginning to grasp what is necessary to understand the pieces of literature.

?When you read the books in English, you have to learn that people are people, no matter the time period,? Elise Porter, ’11, said. ?We see how people react to things, and when it?s bad; we learn not to copy the characters.?

Many students understand the need to read and write literature in high school. However, others find English class to be boring and irrelevant.

?I don?t like English because I think it?s pointless,? Kyle Maddox, ’10, said. ?Since I won?t be writing or reading stories and poems when I grow up, I don?t see why I should do it now.?

Whether or not students agree, English is required by all high school curriculums and inculcates students with the importance of applying literature to real life situations and openly relating to characters.

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