Analysis Of The Text ' Why Teach English ' Essay

913 Words Feb 5th, 2016 4 Pages
Oh the Humanities!
In the text, "Why Teach English?", Gopnik attempts to assert this main argument, that teaching English is a worthwhile venture. Gopnik begins by essentially discounting previous arguments that had been made in the defense of the English department. He provides several of his own arguments that he believe are more adequate. In these arguments, Gopnik discusses concepts like making literature available to all, pursuing a major out of joy for the subject, and needing the "humanities because we 're human." I agree with Gopnik 's argument that we need the humanities, however I find his justification to be lacking and would need more of an explanation.
Gopnik makes several key arguments for the English teaching profession. He discusses the idea that having an English department "democratizes" the reading of Literature, shifting us away from the era when only the wealthy could afford it. He also suggests that people choose to study Literature because they "like its objects." Gopnik emphasizes that students select their majors not necessarily on the grounds of its purpose, but rather for the parts of it that intrigue and enrapture them. Gopnik then generalizes his claim to the importance of literature by placing the subject within the broader category of the Humanities. He goes on to protest that humans are not made to be purely "production-oriented beings." People want to enjoy their lives and do something other than just work, earn money, and die. In Gopnik…

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