Essay Disputing the Canon

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Disputing the Canon I was in the best of settings when I realized that Shakespeare was indeed great. My freshman year in high school, I had English class with an esteemed teacher, Mr. Broza—hailed as the Paul D. Schreiber High School Shakespeare aficionado, founder of Schreiber’s Annual Shakespeare Day, and, perhaps most heart-warming of all, a self-proclaimed Shakespeare lover whose posters of The Bard could be found as wallpaper in his small office. How lucky I thought I was. Indeed, if I wanted to appreciate Hamlet, I was in the right hands. But how misled I actually was—at least, in Walker Percy’s eyes. In his essay, “The Loss of the Creature,” Percy recalls a scene from The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter: …the girl hides in the bushes…show more content…
After sitting by a tree and reading the text front-to-back, perhaps then I would be able to “see” Shakespeare in Percy’s sense of the word. Percy’s noble task is to open our minds to the possibility that we are not the masters of what we know—that, in part, what we know and what we see, when approached passively, have a lot more to do with “preformed symbolic complex” than with ourselves (512). Percy’s exploration achieves one of the main goals of all philosophy—to change the way we think about things. He changes the meaning of many concepts human beings tend to take for granted. Sight is no longer the mere act of seeing, but “a struggle,” an act of understanding and appreciation (523). “Sovereignty,” in relation to things, is no longer some abstract concept of “power,” but an ability to interpret for oneself (517). Education—or perhaps more specifically, its dynamic—is reshaped, for it is no longer a passive act (i.e. “being taught to”) but an action that relies much more upon the student, who “may have the greatest difficulty in salvaging the creature itself from the educational package in which it is presented” (519). These concept-alterations are thus meant to alter our reality; they aim to help us rediscover in art what he calls in his opening paragraph an island, “Formosa.” This previously untouched island is beautiful to its discoverer
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