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Should classic literature be taught in 21st century schools?
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Classic literature and shared emotional response

By reading classic literature that has been taught in schools for decades, students have the opportunity to experience the same emotional responses as the students who came before them.


Scholars such as Diana Omigie[1] have long argued that 'common mechanisms' exist in literature and the arts, which engender empathy amongst their audiences. This view comes from deep analysis into the psychological impact of the arts, which lead people to form emotional attachments to them.

The Argument

It's not the analysis that sticks with us through the years, but the emotional response that comes from reading some of the greatest literature of all time. When a class reads a book like Where the Red Fern Grows, The Diary of a Young Girl, or other emotional stories they tend to experience a shared emotional response. These are two examples of pieces of literature that have been read in classrooms for generations. This contributes to the expansion of the shared emotional response by connecting people of different generations. It not only connects classmates in a particular moment, but it has a way of bringing people together by sharing their own experiences with a piece of literature. At its core, literature is about emotion. It is a piece of art that is meant to elicit a certain feeling, understanding, or perspective from the reader. It is meant to entertain, educate, and broaden the horizons of those who read. By only reading contemporary literature in the classroom that emotional connection is limited to those who are present in the moment.

Counter arguments



[P1] Classic literature can evoke a shared emotional response.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 17 Mar 2020 at 11:50 UTC

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