My English Honors teacher can not understand literature?

She has already made a fool of herself when she said that "The Scarlet Letter" is a book about absolutely "nothing!" But it just amazes me how she can just screw around with J.D Salinger's "Nine Stories". In "The Laughing Man", she says that the Chief is homosexual because of quote: "He does not run after his girlfriend." All that I can say is, what the hell? It is obvious that she was pregnant because of all of the symbolism of baby carriages all over the ball park and the fact that she was conversing with two mothers. She also said that one of my favorite stories, "Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes" is about a paranoid man who was wrong about his wife cheating! If she carefully read the story, she can see that Joannie was in fact, cheating on Arthur with the "grey haired man". She was the woman in the bed with him! Arthur just lied to Lee probably because he works for his firm, and regretted spilling out his beans. Is this why the children of America are failing?

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm sorry you had this experience with your teacher. I don't think she is single-handedly responsible for the failure of all "the children of America" but really do relate to your frustration.

    Think beyond this class. You must try to do well, graduate from high school, and go to college. Major in literature if you like (I did), and there's a good chance you'll have a professor you like (I did) and some you don't. As important as these other things is your continued commitment to read and think about what you read, whatever other people say. You are free to love whatever stories and works of literature you love. No one can stop you. If you can justify your interpretation using evidence from the source text, then you are ahead of the game and should be congratulated.

    I agree with your interpretation. There are always people who read these things differently. Be careful of the idea that there is only one meaning (although I can't really understand the interpretation suggested by your teacher as a possible meaning for The Scarlet Letter or "The Laughing Man"). I'm not saying it's impossible to be wrong - it's possible - but there are muliple approaches to interpretation and analysis.

    There are a variety of "schools" of literary interpretation. I believe New Historicism is still a favorite out there -- and I don't particularly like it because it involves requiring students to understand and analyze historical context in order to interpret a story. When I teach literature, however, I feel compelled to instruct students on the basics of this system, as well as many others, and to explain that there are many different approaches rather than a single "right" answer. Even when the author has publically come out with a particular interpretation, there is room to talk!

    Good for you for reading, and being willing to challenge authority. If you can be gentle with her and graduate from this class with a good grade, I'm confident you'll go on to bigger and better things.

  • 1 decade ago

    HAHAHA, I had teachers like that! In English Honors, too!

    Here's the thing: teachers teach the same thing year after year, semester after semester. When they retire, they pass down their work, and their successors usually teach the same things they did, too.

    They basically go by what's in the syllabus for the course. It tells them what you should be "getting" from a book or a poem, and then they relate that meaning to you through coursework. They kind of forget about personal interpretations and try to make you understand their universal interpretation.

    In some schools, this may be the widely accepted academic interpretation of a poem/novel; in others, it may be just what the teacher decides to tell you! Sometimes the widely accepted interpretations aren't what you take away from a piece, but that doesn't mean your interpretation is wrong. If the teacher fails to even see where you're coming from in your interpretation, it's their fault, not yours.

    The best thing you can do is take it upon yourself to learn what you feel your teachers aren't supplying. With the internet, there are tons of sites that will help you out! In some schools, teachers and principals will just look at you as an annoyance instead of someone trying to help find and correct flaws in the system.

  • 1 decade ago

    You need to communicate with your principal about your English Honors teacher's inability to prepare you for the Honors AP examination coming up; you're going to fail unless you've been doing research on your own about it (which it looks like you have been).

    She clearly has no concept of what she's doing, and if you and other Honors English students approach the administration, you might be able to not only get a qualified teacher and save the tail end of your Honors class, but you can also make sure next year's students will have a capable teacher instead of this complete incompetent.

    If she isn't giving you a decent grade even if you're out there reading and writing and comprehending the texts better than the teacher? You also have the right to dispute her grading policy.

    Yes, this is what's wrong with the school system. I am very sorry your parents haven't chosen to homeschool you, because you very likely would have graduated early and would be going to the college of your choice than dealing with the mediocrity of what is considered an Honors-qualified educator in your school district.

    Congratulations on learning the first big lesson of American Education system: teachers have no arbitrary authority and should be given only the respect they deserve.

    An article you and your peers might find interesting:

    "The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher" by John Taylor Gatto

    The book is amazing. I recommend its purchase by any person disillusioned with the current school system.

  • 1 decade ago

    I've had many English teachers just like that. The thing is that literature is a liberal art. This means that it is open to any sort of interpretation. A teacher should attempt to find exactly what the author was trying to say and leave the misnomers to the students. Report this anonomously to the board of education for your state (Not the school board). They will write a single case off, but if others have the same problem, an investigation will launch.

    Realize just one thing, no one is ever wrong when analyzing literature but that doesn't mean they aren't less correct.

    Have her email me, I'll set her straight.

    Source(s): Novelist in college obtaining my masters of Contemporary Literature with a minor in Secondary Education.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, that is one factor, a lot of teachers are not fully certified or have been doing this for so long that they don't renew their ideas, perhaps this was something she learned back in the day about the stories or perhaps she projects onto stories what she thinks and feels about the characters in the stories instead of analyzing it based on the text. However, you should speak your mind and tell your teacher what you know and how you came up with that conclusion. If she is a good teacher she will be impressed and use your answers on the next lecture if she is close minded and thinks only teachers are correct then good luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    If you have a serious beef about your Eng teacher and can back it up in a calm, organized way with specific examples, go to your guidance counsellor or school board member or someone along those lines- we can't do a thing about it here, Honey!

  • 1 decade ago

    Either she is unprepared to teach the course or she is a diehard feminist who believes that women of all times may choose who they sleep with at any time. In any case, she is not teaching you properly and you should ask for a transfer to another class.

    There's been a trend in recent years to reinterpret history and literature through something called "Women's Studies". This might be a bad example of that.

  • dusik
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    there's no means you may get in. Your SAT and GPA are attitude too low. EDIT: based on the poster under, colleges seem at GPA and SAT FIRST till now than they seem in any appreciate that diverse extracurricular stuff and essays. mutually including your GPA/SAT mixture you will no longer make the decrease off and you will have the skill to get a rejection letter till now than they even start up gazing at your project checklist. i desire on your sake which you only utilized to a pair protection decrease down-ranked colleges. astonishing fulfillment!

  • Ralph
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The thing that makes great literature great is that it can truly be defined as an art from. As far as your teacher goes – art “IS” in the eye of the beholder.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think an important part of literature is being able to decipher it for yourself.

    I'd talk with your parents about it, though -- ask them to get you into a different class or something.

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