Beyond The Culture Wars Analysis

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From lacking appreciation for his school texts, to fearing being called names by his peers, Gerald Graff had a hard time with reading as a child. In Disliking Books, an excerpt from Mr. Graff's renowned book entitled Beyond the Culture Wars : How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education, Graff shares his transition from being a young man that could barely get through a novel into a stimulated reader looking forward to the conversation that is literature.

Growing up in an ethnically mixed part of Chicago in a middle class Jewish family equaled a lot of pressure for Graff. Not only from his working class peers who may have perceived intellectual pursuit negatively, but from Graph's family, did this pressure descend. Graph's father was a well read man with a high expectation for his son to be the same. In fact Graff states,"... boys from my background would go to college," and from that point they would become a business, law, or medical major students. None of these professions applied to what Graff wanted for his future and he feared reading the books to get there.

Graff dutifully persisted to obtain good grades in school,
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He even chose the profession of teaching. Graff describes a traditional viewpoint of first closely reading a book and then having an intellectual discussion, but this isn't what happened to him. He needed a passionate conversation to give him ground to stand on before diving into a reading. He found this to be the case for a lot of his students as well. Graff suggests that being able to to discuss literature is a primary factor in being able to read well. He goes further on to point out that teachers that can relate to students that are intimidated by reading have a great advantage over teachers that may have forgotten what it's like to learn how to think analytically about writing, reading and intellectual
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