Wednesday, October 28, 2009

English Rant

So today I was sitting in my English class and we got a lovely surprise. A timed writing assignment!

So I was sitting there thinking about how I was going to write how the author uses literary devices to help the audience identify the character of Mr. Allright and Mrs. Wellington (not the right names but whatevs), when it hit me.

Why the heck do I care what literary devices the author uses? No, this is not the first time I have come to this question, but every time I ask it I get the answer that it will help me in college and I have always taken that as a good answer. How naive of me.

Well, since I had no idea what literary devices are, I decided that I could spare a few minutes for productive thought. So I went back to the why question. Why does it matter what literary devices the author uses? Because it will help me in college. My brain had still not stumbled upon the elusive meaning of literary devices so I allowed myself to continue thinking.

What will I use it for after college? Well if I become an English teacher (which is never, ever happening bytheway) I will use it. When else? What if I don't become an English teacher?



I won't need it.

How weird.

You could say that this goes for any subject, but you would be wrong. You need math to do simple things like taxes and grocery shopping. You need science. You need it to have your tv, your car, your warm air in the winter. History you need because it is important to not be stupid. History repeats itself, that is such a legit saying.

Core classes in grades 9-12 are English, Math, Science, and History. Strangely enough, out of those four, English is the only one that has four required credits.

As I was pondering this I got more and more annoyed. Really now, in the end who is going to know how to defuse a bomb? A person who has studied the SCIENCE of defusing bombs or the person who had read oh I don't know....Virgina Woolf? If you can't answer that question without a moments hesitation I think its pretty safe to say that you are an English teacher.

Here's another one....
I'm a doctor in a lab and I'm studying the cells of a patient with a strange disease. I turn to my lab partner and realize that she is reading The Scarlet Letter. Well thank goodness! We are just set to get this patient cured.

Not. That book will never be of use unless I'm looking for a headache.

Alright so it might seem like I hate English. I don't. I just hate useless things. Literary devices and crap like that have no value in my life. I could care less about them. I love reading and writing (haha obviously) and being literate will help me in my life. I'll need to read the signs on the road and books when I'm bored. But tell me please how literary devices and prose essays will even smell of use beyond my English classroom.

So as I was thinking about this I remembered the opening scene of The Gods Must be Crazy and the narrator is talking about how humans keep getting more and more complicated and as a result, children have to go to school for long hours and learn everything in order to have a prayer of making it out in the "real world."

That is so true! And I started pondering the origins of things like English and Math. Math is useful. In ancient times people needed it to figure out money amounts and the number of cows they owned. English is the common language that people used to communicate. So why the heck did it all become so complicated? Where did the human race go wrong? Well here's my theory....

Once upon a time, a powerful king was in his Palace when his four kids came home from school. The king had a headache, and when his children all began telling him about their day at the same time, the king felt like his head would explode.

"ENOUGH!" he shouted. He turned to his counselor. "Bernard, I need some more me-time. Send these kids back to school."

"But your Highness!" Bernard squeaked nervously. "School is over. They can't go back till tomorrow."

"I don't care if school is out!" the king growled. "Send. Them. Back."


"I don't care what you teach them!" The king roared. "Just make it as complicated and useless and time-consuming as possible."

"Right away, your Majesty."

And so Bernard brought the princes and princesses to the evil Yraretil, who lived in a cave and had rotting teeth and disgusting breath.

"Something useless and time consuming, eh?" Yraretil smacked his lips and grinned evilly. "I have just the thing...."

One year later the king looked up from his throne to see his four children stumble into the Palace. They were dirty and tired-looking. "Where ever have you been?" the king exclaimed anxiously. "It's been what, a week?" (he had never paid attention in math class). The princes and princesses all burst into explanations, and the king felt his headache returning. "Bernard!"

Bernard dutifully entered the room and almost fainted with shock at the sight of the princes and princesses before him. "Ye-yess, your Excellency?"

"I want them to go back to Yraretil. He did a very good job." Bernard paled, but he nodded and began leading the children from the room. "Bernard!" Bernard turned back to face the king.

"Yes, your Grace?"

"Send all the children to Yraretil!" The king could not stop the grin from taking over his face. "Everyone deserves a break."

"Everyone but the children and me." Bernard muttered darkly.

"What was that?" The king asked absently.

Bernard straightened. "Nothing, your Regality. I will go make the proclamation immediately."

And so from that day onward children were expected to learn Yarertil's teachings. And no one lived happily ever after.

The End

And there you have it.


  1. hahaha i hope you figured out what to write :)

  2. new case you really wereee wondering, you study things like literary devices because it teaches you how to become a critical reader. it's about becoming literate rather than just learning how to read. it's about learning how to write. if you can critique other people's writing, you'll be better able to critique your own. it's about communication and making you better at getting your point across, or understanding a point someone else is trying to make. i know you like writing and i know you use it because you blog and you write stories. and we allll know you like communicating :)