25 Feb, 2015
U1A6 – Editing the Essay
Studying Literature in Grade 12 (Edited)
Hopefully by the end of this essay, you will agree that graduating students in Ontario should only study Canadian literature in a Grade Twelve English course. While good writers exist in all cultures, Ontario students should only study Canadian writers, because we need to become more familiar with our country’s literature. Three reasons for this are: the need to focus on our own Canadian culture despite being surrounded by other cultures, the need to promote and establish our own local writers, and the need to encourage younger Canadian authors by providing them with Canadian role models. Students in Ontario taking English should only study Canadian literature because we are completely submerged in the American culture around us. This is a Canadian tradition because we have always been a “branch plant” of another country starting with England and France, meaning that our own culture has never had the chance to develop since we have always been “under the thumb” of a more powerful foreign culture. This is why, for years, a student in Ontario would study Shakespeare and other British writers; today they may also study American authors such as Fitzgerald. However, many schools limit a student’s exposure to Canadian novels to ISP reading lists. In this sense, Canada is an attic in which we have stored American and British literature without considering our own (Davies, Letters in Canada 426). No wonder a Canadian student has problems appreciating their culture. Often what Canadian literature is studied is very old. This includes works such as Mordecai’s Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz or Lawrences Stone Angel. Fifth Business, which was published in 1970 – fourty-five years ago -- is still on many courses of study in Gr. 12 classrooms. Atwood’s Handmade’s Tale the most recent of these books was published in 1985; over twenty years ago. Again, while most...
Cited: Atwood, Margaret. Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. Toronto: McLelland and Stewart, 1972.
Davies, Robertson. Canadian Nationalism in Arts and Science. 4. Vol. 13. Ottawa: The Royal Society Of Canada, 1975.
—. Letters in Canada. Toronto: MacMillan Press, 1979.
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