Francine Prose's I Know Why The Caged Bird Can T Read

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From the very beginning of Francine Prose’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Can’t Read”, the topic of her argument appears to be one concerned with the failing education system, contributed, in part, by the failure of teachers to effectively teach literature, focusing on the moral values that can be taken from a particular work rather than focusing on the actual literary content, and the lack of literary works that encourage a love of literature and are complex in nature. However, Prose’s arranging of her argument allowed for an ill-conceived notion of what she was really trying to get at. Prose makes an universal assumption that the lack of complexity in assigned literary works is what makes for the decreased enthusiasm for reading and students …show more content…
Prose views Angelou’s work being examined in classrooms as a terrifying aspect because she feels as if it is incapable of providing the complexity that students need, stating that the “sententious” epigrams at the end of each chapter are “virtually begging to serve as texts for sophomoric rumination” (Prose 4), suggesting that it is not the kind of book that should be held in high respects. Even more terrifying for Prose, is the fact that Angelou’s work is commonly used as an example of “poetic” prose style, a fact that Prose is strongly against as Angelou’s work incorrectly uses certain aspects of grammar. Prose supposes that this would provide reasoning for the poorly written works that college freshman teachers are commonly confronted with, because students are looking towards the works of Angelou’s as models for what they should be writing. The flaw in Prose’s criticism of Angelou’s work comes when she uses a questionable analogy, comparing Angelou’s work being held as a paradigm of memoir to a malpractice doctor teaching medical students. Prose appears to not understand that just because a doctor is convicted of malpractice, doesn’t mean that they are still not capable of retaining the knowledge needed to teach others. There are many reasons that one can be convicted of malpractice, with lack of knowledge not being the sole reason, so for Prose to assume that they are the same thing would be incorrect and would raise eyebrows at the point she was trying to get

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