Friday, August 26, 2011

War and Literature

Question: Why is everything we read in literature so depressing?

 Answer; The author’s answer to this question is that he hopes students will act on the impressions they gather from the literature of war.

Quote: “In the age of smart bombs, drones, and violent video games, there is perhaps no more pertinent issue than to remind students of the necessity to stop and consider the effects of our decisions on other human beings.” P. 61. [Comment: As I read this quote, Philadelphia is in the throes this summer of a rash of flash mobs of teenagers, some as young as 11 years of age, who beat their victims senseless, for no other reason than to enjoy the experience of turning others into victims. RayS.]

Quote: “I ask the students to simply respond to the question, ‘How do we redeem a culture torn by war?’ I ask them to go beyond the pat answers that would boil down to ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’” p. 62.

Quote: “We talk often about just how far we can take our ethics into the realm of action. Will we continue to simply talk, will we act enough to merely alleviate guilt, or will we stretch beyond comfort, sacrifice, and act for true and lasting change?” p. 63.

Comment: My belief is that literature does produce reflection on the part of individual readers. Who knows when or if that reflection will take the people who read it to act on it? RayS.

Title: “Reading the Literature of War: A Global Perspective on Ethics.” Kyle Vaughn. English Journal (July 2011), 60-67.

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