Gerald Graff's Story Of Disliking Books

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In “Disliking Books” (an excerpt from the 1993 book, Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education) Gerald Graff tells his story about growing up as a middle-class Jew in Chicago (22). He grew up disliking and fearing literature, history, and other advanced books. His explanation for his disdain towards reading was his fear of being bullied by the other boys in the working-class. Reading at the time was only acceptable for girls. When entering college, he entered the noncommittal territory of liberal arts and majored in English (23). The fear of flunking out of college replaced the fear of being beaten up. However, he still continued to find serious reading difficult. What caught his interest was when …show more content…
Graff states, “The moral I draw from this experience is that our ability to read well depends more than we think on our ability to talk well about what we read”(26). Literary teachers today do not understand the struggles of students that have not obtained critical vocabulary. The reason for this is that English professors got their education so long ago, that they do not even remember learning how to discuss books. This reason is why Graff likes to think he has an advantage as a teacher who can relate to the students who have grown up disliking books. Graff is persuasive in his argument, which is that he has an advantage with teaching literature. He states his argument in both the beginning and the end of the excerpt. He uses his real life experiences to persuade his audience that he can relate to students who experienced the same dilemma. He also cites books that can help his audience relate to what he felt when reading college assigned books. Education today is failing to teach students to be intellectual speakers and thinkers. Students struggle to keep up with class discussions due to the fact that they are often embarrassed when called on because they do not know …show more content…
I agree that Graff can help students to become more engaged and feel less bored when reading books. Having something to respond to can help students be on the closest possible terms with the text (26). Though I do not know Graff personally, his excerpt helps his audience feel connected to his life. In this day and age, a significant amount of teenagers do not see the importance of books. Since he knows how it feels, he can address this problem, and help figure out a method to solve it. This generation can be distracted while they are doing something that requires all of their attention. Phones and various social media cause students to lose focus while doing homework. Addressing and responding to issues can help readers feel more involved in the text. Feeling that their opinion is important can help students gain confidence in their feedback on literary works. Therefore, if students grow up disliking books, educators need to do something to fix it. Professors and teachers should educate their students on reading and thinking like an intellectual. Teachers should be more patient with students who have not yet

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