People have this general view that a student majoring in English have their life sorted since it is relatively easier to pursue that than other streams. They believe that Literature is one of the easiest courses to pursue as all one has to do is read a text and be done for the semester. Well, the truth is quite the contrary. Students majoring in English have quite a few hardships to face. First, they have to pour over books for hours to conjure the perfect answer and write assignments and multiple critical reviews on it.
Moreover, they have to be careful about the language they use in order to make it sound aesthetically pleasing. If you ask a student of Business to write up a critical review, you would probably faint after reading the first line itself! Another thing which is quite heard about literature students is that they have a widespread scope as far as prospects are concerned. That’s far from the truth as no corporation requires students of literature to work for them.
‘The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.’
What are the challenges faced by literature majors?
Contrary to popular belief, writing up an assignment in English is not that easy. It’s not all about reading up a text and writing pages of summary on it. It’s a far more enriching process that that. Like all other subjects, there’s ample amount of research required, if not more, which then are carefully assembled to form a structured answer. Listed below are some of the challenges that a student majoring in English faces.
Too much to read
When it comes to completing an assignment on Literature, there’s just too much to read. You have to read the main text, and then move on to the reading list. Now the reading list comprises several sections. It consists of the primary texts which you have to read, to learn more about the techniques of the age, etc., the secondary texts, which you just need to glance over and the critics. You have to read what each critic has to say about the book, about the author, about the age and so on and meticulously note it. In short, you have to be a really fast reader to complete your assignments.
There will be times when you will be unable to find material on certain writers, especially women writers. You will understand how the works of women writers have been slighted and feel their pain when you have to write an assignment on it. Materials on famous modernist writers like Virginia Woolf are also not unavailable, which constitute a major part of Modernism and Feminism as well. So, good luck finishing an assignment!
Too much critical thinking
While critical opinion is really valued in literature classes, however, too much critical thinking is often the cause of incomplete assignments. This is a challenge faced by many majoring in Literature. Students are so conditioned to critically analyze each aspect of a text, as a result they analyze each and every word of it. You must have faced the same,haven’t you? Read a poem where the poet described the color of the curtains to be blue, and you interpreted that to be the state of mind of the poet, stating that the color blue symbolizes his depression? Well, you are not the only one!
Failing to read the main text
What many students do when working on their literature assignments is that they simply do not read the main text. This is because they are so hard pressed for time that they think this is something they can avoid. Well, it is the wrong way to save time. Reading the main text allows you to present your own thoughts and opinions in your answer which is rather valued in your course. A mere study of the summary will not help you with that.
Inability to distinguish between important and unimportant information
Another challenge that many students of literature face are the inability to distinguish between what to leave out in the answer and what to include. As a literature student, you will feel that everything that you read is important and has to be included. Well, that’s not true. Read the question and choose your information accordingly to the needs of your answer. Do not simply fill it with irrelevant content.
Failing to understand critical terms
Some literary terms in English are necessary to understand to form a basic idea about the genre and the critical texts associated with it. Terms like feminism, structuralism, and post-modernism and so on, need a though understanding. For such occasion, educational websites are rather helpful. With their help, you can have a basic idea about what it is, the various aspects of it and so on to complete the assignment.
Failing to restrict the word limit
When literature students start to write, they forget all about the word limit. It is only natural to do so as they write with quite the vigor. However, it is essential to pay attention to the word limit. Do not cross it as that might result in some deduction of marks, especially when the word limit is mentioned.
Not enough quotations
Often, students majoring in English forget that they have to substantiate their answers with relevant quotes from the texts and critics as well. These quotes elevate the quality of the answer and makethem even more enriching and captivating to read.
Too many pop culture references
While being acquainted with pop culture is good, however, inserting them into your answers is not that great. While literature welcomes pop culture references in some aspect, however, it’s not suitable to use them always. The use of too many such things degrades the quality of the answer and makes you appear as a student of media, not literature.
You can also check out How to improve at your mathematics homework? To get an idea of the other areas you can seek help from.
Degrading writing skills
Like stated above, use of certain things degrades the quality of writing which is one of the biggest challenges faced by students nowadays. Because literature students are so used to using short forms while texting, unconsciously they insert the same into their answers while writing. Thus, because becomes ‘coz’ and of course becomes ‘ofc,’as a result, the sentence appears to be rather colloquial.
Absence of a structured answer
Another of the challenges faced by literature students is to write good, structured answers. Students majoring in English have this habit of deviating from the point a lot. This means that there will be pages and pages about something that is irrelevant to the question, but because the mind likes to wander, the answers are never well structured.
Use of artificial language
Literature students are known to write beautifully, but in an effort to sound philosophical, many students resort to pedantic language to write their answers. They fill up their answers with artificial words in order to sound like Joyce and lose the very aesthetic objectivity that Joyce wanted in literature.
Another challenge faced by students majoring in literature is that they fail to cite the works they have referred to when they finish off writing the paper. Papers are an important aspect of this prestigious course and citations are the very heart of the work. Without citing the necessary works properly, your paper will not be published.
So, go ahead and identify the mistake you have been committed and rectify it in order to proceed with the career of your choice. Do not be disheartened if you are majoring in English. Understand that you are learning about life and its philosophical works while other deal with the drudgery associated with it.