Originally Posted by JD Gumby
Sure, but they should be assigning books for that purpose that will have a better chance of keeping the audience's attention, rather than books that will have half the class (rough estimate, based on my own school days) seeking out the Coles Notes (licensed out to be Cliff's Notes down in the States a decade after they were created in Canada
) for the assigned book.
That's my point. Fine, mix in some depressing Poe if you must or one or two ghastly tales of woe, but it's *probably* okay to have something with a lighter tone. I was never assigned Mark Twain, but have read him since high school and I'm pretty sure most of his stuff is better than anything I was forced to read. Granted, he is an option in many schools. I just don't get the leaning toward dark literature in what is considered "great" works that are then taught in school. To be honest I'd have gotten far more out of those books when I was more mature emotionally. Reading about such depressing crap at that age only made me wonder if the teachers were somehow evil.
I've heard that Shakespeare even wrote a couple of comedies. Why not those instead of the tragedies? Pride and Prejudice would be better than Wuthering (ANYTHING is better). That's not to say that I'm enamored of it either, but it was better.
In all honestly it's quite possible to teach lit without having to go all wonky with that type of reading.