Analysis Of The Ideal English Major By Mark Edmundson

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Speaking or being spoken by literature - The difference

Prior to high school, my experience of literature was limited to comics and short stories. I had never read a play or even come across the concept of literary devices. It was only recently that I encountered several ideas on the nature of literature. Specifically, the essay “The Ideal English Major” by Mark Edmundson brings up the intriguing idea that “some of us speak, others are spoken [by language].” It seemed obvious at first, but I now begin to understand how this could make the difference between a good book and a timeless classic, between an amazing author and a legend. There are different elements that separate those who speak from those who are spoken and the effect works that speak to us is much different. I came to the conclusion that what makes the difference between speaking and being spoken is one’s ability to use language creatively. Those who speak literature produce art. Their works are able to entertain educate and inspire us. …show more content…

All it really consists of is regurgitating information and assembling words to fill a page. I agree that this is sometimes necessary (such as when trying to be unbiased or when presenting facts) but the result poorly represents literature. Using language in this manner neither entertains or contains a deeper meaning. Worse, it is forgotten as soon as possible. Merely stringing words together may provide information but it does not carry the sort of meaningful message that makes literature so

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