Studying Canadian Literature

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While good writers exist in all cultures, our writers and culture are often over looked. Canadian students should study these writers because they need to become more familiar with our literature. Students need to focus on their own culture despite being surrounded by others, and schools need to promote and establish writers in Canada. Students need this in their education as well as the encouragement to become young Canadian authors themselves. Students in Canada taking English should study Canadian literature because we are completely overtaken by the foreign cultures around us. This is a Canadian tradition because we have always been a part of another country starting with England and France meaning that our own culture has never had the chance to develop and flourish since we have always been under the thumb of a different culture. For years, students would study Shakespeare and other British writers; they may have also studied American authors such as Fitzgerald. But many schools limit student’s exposure to Canadian novels within 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 Canadian students have difficulties both recognizing appreciating their own culture. Often the Canadian literature that is studied in schools is dated. This includes works such as Mordecai’s Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz or Lawrence’s Stone Angel. Fifth Business, which was published in 1970 (over 35 years ago) is still in many courses studied in Grade 12. Atwood’s Handmade’s Tale, the most recent of these books was published in 1985; over ten years ago. Again while most teachers allow and may even encourage a student to focus on more modern Canadian books for their ISP; this classroom experience is usually limited to studying these golden stories.
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