This question might be one students ask themselves. What’s the point of studying literature in an academic setting?
I’m a huge advocate for college not only being a catalyst to the job market and yet, it seems like that to be the only reason students go to college. Acquiring marketable skills to make money seems to be the driving force for many students. Ask yourself, why are you in college? What are your reasons for getting a higher education? I came to be a better human. And yes, a piece of paper that confirms I indeed can complete a degree program is important to me as well. I am in no way denouncing the idea that a college degree gets you a good paying job. I am only saying that there are other reasons to go to school than just to find a job to make loads of money.
This is where literature comes in and we return to my question of why do we read this stuff. Ellie Chambers and Marshall Gregory discuss the human condition as something that can’t be solved through traditional physical methods. “Life’s most fundamental conditions have little to do with money and are not generally solved by money. How does money solve the problem of grief, sickness, loss, rejection, disappointment? (13). If one were to spend their entire college career preparing to make money, how can these natural feelings of the human condition be rationalized? It may be difficult but there are other ways to understand meaning.
Chambers and Gregory are firm in understanding why we read literature as “It helps students gain a better understanding of their own circumstances through the study of others’ circumstances” (23). Happiness, fun, freedom, and excitement are also contained in the universal human condition that are also presented in narratives. Maybe take an extra literature class. Explore your options and be a better human. Why not go to college to be a better human?
Chambers, Ellie and Marshall Gregory. “The Discipline Today.” Teaching and Learning English Literature. Sage Publications, 2006. Online.