Critique on "I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read" Essay

Words: 970
Pages: 4

In Francine Prose’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read: How American High School Students Learn to Loathe Literature”, the author is trying to explain why high school students are not asked to read more quality pieces of literature now a days. In my opinion I agree with Prose because I think the texts we read in high school are not challenging and not a lot of students enjoy the readings because they cannot relate. Prose uses the rhetorical strategy of degrading the books high school students are reading and she uses her own personal experiences to support her argument. Throughout the essay, Prose argues that literatures in high schools are dumbing down the English curriculum. She says books that are “chosen for students to read are …show more content…
However, in this part of her essay, Prose can get a little bias because she only talks about the negative assignments. We all know that not all high school assignments are like the ones she mentions and she knows that too. The last point in Prose’s argument is that she only talks about that books should only be discussed for their language. This is one point where I disagree with her because I think that books can be discussed for their value as well as their language. Prose thinks that, “The present vogue for teaching “values” through literature uses the novel as a springboard for the sort of discussion formerly conducted in civics or ethics classes--,”(427). I do not agree with this statement because not all high schools are able to offer civics classes. My high school, for example, did have a civics class but it was more driven towards the History end than English literature classes. So the only place for values in literature be discussed was during English class. Also, English class should not only be about the language. Students should learn the value of the story also through discussion and assignments. In conclusion, Francine Prose does have a couple of good arguments in her paper, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read: How American High School Students Learn to Loathe Literature”. She argues her opinion that students in high