Thursday, July 26, 2007

I really shouldn't read editorials...

It's time I move beyond all this personal discourse since that wasn't the intent of this blog. This past Monday I read an editorial in The Vancouver Sun that had me almost turning purple with utter disbelief. The synopsis being, the classics that offend us now should be banned, they have no relevance, the example used, The Heart of Darkness.

Maybe I should preface this discussion with the simple point, I will never give up the satisfaction I have from my BA in English, from a secular institution. Sure the degree may never pay me back what I put in financially, and my grammar forever will be atrocious, it all pales when I look at what I've been given, life. From my very first English class, ENGL 101- Intro to Fiction I learned to find beauty in words, to listen to a new voice and to see that for better or worse - that being regardless of my personal feelings, it had merit.
Course readings were:
The Sun Also Rises - Hemingway
Pig Earth - Berger
Beloved - Morrison
The Buddha of Suburbia - Kureshi
Swamp Angel - Wilson
After the course I cannot say that I walked away with a great appreciation for any of the authors, that came at a later date when reading The Bluest Eye, To The Wedding, My Beautiful Laundrette and Essays, and in E. Wilson's case with the myriad of Canadian literature that I read in an attempt to complete my degree. I could list all the novels I've read, the ones controversial, the ones banned, but I do not see the relevance. Literature if offensive is for a reason - for better or worse. Heart of Darkness, Morrison's literature, Ellison's and their peers are because they show racism, the show the struggle and they show human nature. The same human nature seen in Atwood, Wah, Brand, Marlett and the list goes on. Evidence of the binary that accompanies integral literature, Rushdie's Satanic Verses resulted in a Booker nomination and a fatwa. And it's not just limited to fiction, Arundhati Roy's essays on Globalism and the political climate in India have resulted in a furor, just as King Jr. or any articulate, justice seeking essayist in the past has achieved.
For those who do not read and/or for those who believe books should be baned or burned (Farenheit 451), I ask you first to sit in one university literature class and hear the dialogue, the in depth discussion and realize the emense discourse and body of work that surrounds all the classics, and the majority of fiction.

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