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17669The canon and my lousy education

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    Dec 24, 2006
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      You know, I hate to think how I would have been judged if a college had decided whether to accept me or not based on how much of this list I had read when I graduated from high school. I think I had read a cut version of a couple of Shakespeare's plays in our lousy literature textbooks. I'd read the Declaration of Independence, I think. I'd read 1984 on my own. I'd read some short selections from Homer in our literature books. I'd read a cut version of a Dickens novel in our textbooks. I'd read large parts of the Bible. And that's it. Depite this, I was easily the biggest reader in my high school class

      The same thing was true in other academic areas. I entered college not only planning to study math but hoping to get a Ph.D. in it. Yes, my education was lousy at that point. I recovered from it. And if a college looked at my SAT's (719 V, 772 M), they could tell that I would do well. I shudder to think what they would have done if they had judged my ability by how much I had learned up to that point. Yes, it would be nice for students to be well educated in high school, but the fact is that some students come to college poorly educated and still do well in college.

      Wendell Wagner

      >Here's the entire list, by the way. Remember, they're being
      >criticized for not having read all thirty before leaving high school.
      >
      >1. The Works of Shakespeare
      >
      >2. The Declaration of Independence
      >
      >3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
      >
      >4. The poems of Emily Dickinson
      >
      >5. The poems of Robert Frost
      >
      >6. Hawthorne, Nathaniel, Scarlet Letter
      >
      >7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
      >
      >8. Orwell, George, 1984
      >
      >9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad
      >
      >10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities
      >
      >11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales
      >
      >12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
      >
      >13. The Bible
      >
      >14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
      >
      >15. Sophocles, Oedipus
      >
      >16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
      >
      >17. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and poems
      >
      >18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice
      >
      >19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
      >
      >20. The novels of William Faulkner
      >
      >21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick
      >
      >22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost
      >
      >23. Vergil, Aeneid
      >
      >24. Plato, The Republic
      >
      >25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto
      >
      >26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince
      >
      >27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America
      >
      >28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
      >
      >29. Aristotle, Politics
      >
      >30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace
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