Tag Archives: Education

“You Must Contribute Brain!”

You haven’t seen the inside of a book in over two months, and you ask yourself, why?!?Summer, that’s why. It is natural human laziness to leave the doors of the University behind and shut down your mental and literary expansion despite your best wishes to conquer that summer reading list (It’s growing in the corner of your room, neglected, cold, and shunned…). But the challenge is to continue to immerse yourself in opportunities of learning, however simple it may be, perhaps with adult literature or a great classic.

So here’s what I’ve learned forcing myself to read this summer.

The OBVIOUS benefits of using your literary brain over the summer:

1. You will be able to recall the things you’ve spent the entire semester stressing over!
–Remember how many times you re-read “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge just so you could get to the bottom of what was really going on? Yeah, reading more literature over the summer enables you to bring that trained cognitive thought process back to the surface without as much work, thus making you smarter!

2. Your conversations will have more depth than the obvious focus on the weather and tanning!
–All of sudden you come to a revelation and BOOM! you’ve gotta talk about The Parable of the Cave from The Republik by Plato, and how you’ve crawled out and can stand in the glory of the sun! So much more interesting than the typical tan line conversation, and surely a lot less embarrassing if your tan lines aren’t even that impressive…it happens.

3. You’ll be able to see all of the neat little references in the newest summer blockbusters!
–That’s right, they’re everywhere. Not everyone gets them, but you will!

4. It will disconnect you from the eternal connection that is social media.
–You, a book, maybe some coffee and plenty of time to live within the narrative of something great is all you really need.

5. Your imagination will grow exponentially!

I’ve been indulging in a few novels that have surely made an impression on my summer. If anyone is looking to begin their summer reading, I would highly suggest Tom Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, or Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield! Remember, just because the sun is out and the sky is blue doesn’t mean your literature doesn’t want you too! So, READ ON!

Kimberlee Roberts

*Title credit to Daniel Robinson, Smart Barker

Ready, Aim, Fire: The Purpose of Literary Ammunition

I’ve often been told by one of my professors that “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” and each time those words grace his lips, my gut turns in acknowledgment of my own ignorance. So I thought to myself: the best way to conquer a text is to be prepared with the best literary ammunition.

What do I mean by literary ammo? It’s having writers like Homer, Faulkner, Joyce, and Shakespeare in your back pocket and pulling them out to make connections in a piece of work so that allusions and references don’t fly over your head. It is the big gun in conversations, it steals ground for you in arguments, and gives you literature to love in your spare time. Ammunition is what you become equipped with when you study survey class after survey class, finding all of the best moments in the literary canon.

I can enjoy a movie and laugh at all of the typical punch lines, but I may have missed that hilarious pun on Virginia Woolf, or failed to notice that the Spongebob Movie is really a glorified cartoon version of the Odyssey. The more you learn, the more humor can exceed the common slap-stick comedy. People aren’t aware of the references right before their eyes, and so they miss out on the great moments when our present culture mimics or makes fun of our rich past.

This ammunition extends beyond popular culture; it is also a crucial element in understanding why our authors write the things they do, what interests motivate them, and knowing what they mean when they reference a person, place, or thing. That’s another value of a liberal arts education – for those people in studies separate from the humanities, you’ll be thanking your professors when you’re the only one laughing in a crowded theater, or you understand the hobbies of the people you are studying because you had to take a lit course. These things come together to make you more knowledgeable and complex.

As literate people, we owe it to ourselves to expand our knowledge by diving into huge varieties of many different books and expertise. We have these opportunities to reap the culture and knowledge of our past in ways that make us deeper, more humane individuals. So, expand your literary horizons, increase your ammunition, and as you absorb each page, stanza, or phrase, know that you are creating a better version of yourself.

by Kimberlee Roberts