Reading List: I Don’t know What to Make of This

4 of 8: Is that good or bad?

Miss M is taking two lit classes in the Fall. She shared the reading lists with me. Not counting a couple of style manuals– I note that Strunk & White is not among them– there are eight books. We have four of eight. 

EN2243 Required Reading:

The Scarlet Letter

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Charlotte Temple

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Walden, Civil Disobedience and other Writing

My Bondage and My Freedom

Of Plymouth Plantation

EN3414 Required Reading:

The Scarlet Letter

A Lesson Before Dying

I’ve never heard of Charlotte Temple. I can’t believe I don’t have Franklin’s autobiography, or anything by Fredrick Douglas, and it took three correction iterations– it’s not As I Lay Dying (which I have)– to get the Dying book right.

So what to make of this? Why are English majors/minors reading The Scarlet Letter in both a know-it-all class and an upper division class? Why aren’t there more readings in the upper division class?

I’m sure all will be revealed next fall. 

Meanwhile– I’ve managed to coast through Miss M’s three week Algebra class without having to remember too much algebra (although talking about logarithms was fun) and I’m looking forward to picking up some Español over the course of the next four semesters. 

I was in favor of her taking Latin or Greek. But as it turns out, neither Latin nor Greek are considered “foreign languages” because… I guess because people like Hawthorne, Stowe, Franklin, Thoreau, Douglas, and Bradford didn’t bother with Latin or Greek and instead spoke Spanish.

Miss M thinks she’s going to be more “marketable” if she can habla espanol.  I think she’d be more marketable if she learned the vocabulary underlying the Romance Languages. If she learned how that vocabulary was insinuated into English when the Romans invaded the British Isles. If she learned how Latin sentence structure informed the translation of the Bible into English, and the wording of our Constitution. 

The Latin Club, ca. 1976.

But you know, Miss M is free to waste her time learning a derivative language.

9 Responses

  1. Why, you ask, is there not more reading material for the upper division class? Well, my guess is that we will be focusing on writing more than reading as the course is titled Critical Writing and Research.
    I am more concerned with the reading list for American Lit before 1845. Where is it? Surely there will be more reading assignments, more essays…

    Also, I recently discovered that English Majors are required to take some number of upper division writing courses. The options include Creative Writing, which I have taken, and… wait for it…Legal Writing.

  2. Heh, The old days!!!

    “The Scarlet Letter” was a high school reading requirement.
    Also three years of Latin, 2 years of German (we were supposed to take French if we weren’t linguistic “dummies”. The “dummies” took Spanish. Nevertheless – Spanish sure would come in handy these days!). That was in High school. In college, another two years of German and one of Greek. I remember the Greek alphabet…! The German served me well during the years we were in the military and stationed there. Unfortunately, when they advertise for “bilingual” applicants in So. Calif, they don’t have German in mind!! I _was_ tempted a time or two – after all they didn’t say _which_ languages they considered “bi” in their bilingual requirement!!

    1. The Old Days, indeed! In 7th grade we took placement tests. If you scored very well, you could take Latin I &/or Algebra I in 8th grade. Which meant you could take FIVE years of Latin before college AND make it through Calculus II.

      But those were the crappy olden days.

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