Kindred Spirits

In my reading of Deborah Appleman’s Critical Encounters in High School English: Teaching Literacy Theory to Adolescents, I found some quotations that really support this blog’s theme of navigating the “universe as text.” I have shared them below.

“Reading this postmodern culture requires that we reconsider which artifacts or elements of culture actually can and should be read. In other words, we must refine ‘texts’ to include a variety of forms, both print and non-print, literary and nonliterary” (Appleman 104).

“[F]or many deconstructionists, the traditional conception of literature is merely an elitist ‘construct.’ All ‘texts’ or ‘discourse’ (novels, scientific papers, a Kewpie doll on the mantle, watching TV, suing in court, walking the dog, and all other signs that human beings make) are of a piece; all are unstable systems of ‘signifying,’ all are fictions, all are ‘literature'” (Barnet, qtd. in Appleman 104).

“Once ‘text’ is conceived of as a cultural artifact, any text, past or present, classic or popular, fiction or non-fiction, written, oral, or filmic, can be admitted to the English classroom for legitimate and regarding scrutiny…” (Boomer, qtd. in Appleman 104).

“It is not only for the survival of our profession [as English teachers] but for the survival of adolescents as well that our students, now perhaps more than ever before, need critical tools to read the increasingly bewildering and text-filled world that surrounds us. Those texts can range from the literary to a galaxy of artifacts in the external world” (Appleman 105).

We have to learn how to read our world, through books as well as outside of them. Otherwise, the discussion and definition of texts is irrelevant frivolity. Life is what is important. Hopefully, my teaching will find a way to reflect that.

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