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I love to read. I have my own collection of books...about 400, almost 500. I have romance, mystery, fiction, Christian...and literature.
My collection of literature is The Outsiders (which is literature in my eyes since it was also used as a tool for teaching in my Reading and English class), Pride and Prejudice, Crime and Punishment, and Jane Austen...and more. I am pretty sure my view of literature is different in comparison to today's literature. I am sure today's literature is the Twilight and Harry Potter series, along with Hunger Games. It makes me feel old comparing my literature to our current teenagers' literature. Whew...let me get back to the topic on hand.
I am attending Grand Canyon University Online to become a high school English teacher. I have taken classes from American literature to, recently, British literature. Oh, my God, I was completely lost. There is a big difference between the two. I knew there are differences between literature, but I wasn't expecting that much of a difference. It just goes to show that there is always something new to learn in life; it doesn't matter your age.
With American literature, it is almost apparent on the many themes within the story. It is obvious of the drama behind each character. It is not confusing on who is who or what the author is trying to say.
Let's take The Scarlet Letter for example. The characters are easily notable. The plot of adultery and punishment of wearing a letter A on all her shirts was clearly stated. We all understood what she had to deal with and how she dealt with it. We were clearly able to decide whether the book had a happy ending or not. This doesn't happen with British Literature.
The book above saying Hamlet should say it all. It is another language altogether. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually like Shakespeare. I have almost all of his plays. It is, as most of the British literature, a beautiful read but difficult to understand. I know...you're wondering, how can it be a beautiful but difficult read? Simple! It is a beautiful read when you are just reading it for the first time.
However, if you are really trying to interpret what it is trying to say, it becomes difficult. It hard to decipher what the plot is, what the themes are...
At times, it is hard to figure out which character of the story it is talking about. It takes a few reads to truly understand what the story is about.
Let's take Beowulf for this example. Beowulf is the only character that we know the story is going to be talking about. The other characters...with weird and hard to pronounce names...are different. You can't really decipher the value of them within the story. The plot is not so easily discernible. If I remember the story correctly, the story's ending was not even close to what I expected. After you finish reading it, you have to read it again and actually take written notes to try and figure out the plot diagram to this story. I like to read, but I like to be able to understand it the first time I read it.
Note that this is my interpretation. I know there are some out there who don't see it this way or says it's vice versa. That is great. I'm jealous of those who understand British literature. I'm going to be reading it still, even though the class is over so I can understand it and teach it.