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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 20. 1972

Lies

Lies

Despite the changes expected with the new exam system the basic English courses are the same as they were eight years ago. The old 'A' course, now ENGL 101 ;201 ;202;203, is for people who do not want to major in English. Assorted texts are studied, usually with no relation to each other; though points of similarity are often stressed to prepare the way for those dreadful 'compare and contrast' questions, the points are usually superficial and forced (i.e. both Conrad and Forster deal in some way with colonial themes). The course as a whole has no direction. All that is required of the student is that he reads and uncritically comments on the text (reproduction of the lecturer's notes will do). The "critical reading of prose, poetry and drama" that the Calendar talks about is an outright lie - "critical" implies the making of some kind of value judgement, something which, in my experience is anathema to the English Department. Never have I heard questions like "Where does the impact of this book lie? Why do you like it?" Answering questions like these is essential to developing the critical faculty, and also to the continuing enjoyment of literature. A modicum of original thinking is required. The answers are also likely to be rather embarassing to the English Department. Perhaps that is why the questions are not asked.