Essay about Critique on "I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read"

946 WordsDec 14, 20104 Pages
In Francine Prose’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read: How American High School Students Learn to Loathe Literature”, the author is trying to explain why high school students are not asked to read more quality pieces of literature now a days. In my opinion I agree with Prose because I think the texts we read in high school are not challenging and not a lot of students enjoy the readings because they cannot relate. Prose uses the rhetorical strategy of degrading the books high school students are reading and she uses her own personal experiences to support her argument. Throughout the essay, Prose argues that literatures in high schools are dumbing down the English curriculum. She says books that are “chosen for students to read are…show more content…
She does not understand why the older and well-known authors are not being read in high school. Prose uses a personal experience from her son’s sophomore English class. He had to read a “weeper and former bestseller by Judith Guest” (424), about a dysfunctional family dealing with a teenage son’s suicide attempt. “No instructor has ever asked my sons to read Alice Munro, who writes so lucidly and beautifully about the hypersensitivity that makes adolescence a hell,”(424). She again mentions books she approves of that should be read in English classes. Another big point in Prose’s essay is the assignments associated with high school literature. She argues that teachers make students write around the books and not about the books they read. “No wonder students are rarely asked to consider what was actually written by these hopeless racists and sociopaths. Instead, they’re told to write around the book, or, better yet, write their own books,” (430). The assignments that teachers give these days are nto about the book or the story itself. They usually ask the student to rewrite the ending, or ask what the student would do if they were in the same situation as the character. Prose argues that high school students are seen as having the same experience as some of the characters they read about, such as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. “And is it any wonder that

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