Phi Beta Cons

Depressing Reading Required

A mother in the Christian Science Monitor protests the sad, depressing reading that young people are expected to do nowadays.   Her daughter recently completed her required summer reading, which included a story about white people burning down an entire town of black people, and one about a twelve year old bride in the Middle East who is tormented by her husband’s older wives  Most interesting are the “unintended consequences ” of such reading.  “You’re constantly made to feel spoiled or privileged,” one student said, because you’ve “never experienced these horrible things.”  (Is this consequence really “unintended”?)  Another interesting consequence is that this mother has “noticed that no matter what movie we watch, even a comedy, whenever the tension begins to rise, my daughter assumes that someone is about to be hurt in some drastic manner–because that’s the narrative patern she encounters in her reading.”
Could this be a contributing factor to the decline in literary reading?   That’s a rhetorical question. 


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