Margaret Atwood: Why Ontario Students Should Study Canadian Literature

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“I’m talking about Canada as a state of mind, as the space you inhabit not just with your body but with your head. It’s that kind of space in which we find ourselves lost” (Atwood, 18). This statement said by Margaret Atwood is definitely the best way to bring attention to the use of Canadian Literature in classrooms across Ontario. While good writers exist in all cultures, Ontario students should be putting more focus toward Canadian writers. For these students, they need to become more familiar with our own literature, despite being surrounded by other cultures. Also, when Canadian literature is studied it should be more modern day Canadian literature. By having these important tasks to work on, Ontario students in grade 12 should only study…show more content…
For example, Robertson Davies wrote, in Letters in Canada, “In this sense, Canada is an attic in which we have stored American and British literature without considering our own” (Davies, 426). For years now, a Ontario student would study Shakespeare and other British writers; today, American authors, such as Fitzgerald, are studied as well. This is great, but the problem is, because of other cultures, the exposure to our own Canadian literature is limited. This has been a Canadian tradition because we have always been a “branch plant” of another country. This meaning that our own culture has never had the chance to develop, since we have always been under more powerful and well-known foreign cultures. By bringing in more of our own literature, the more chances it has to develop to become powerful and well known in our…show more content…
Often what is studied from Canadian literature is usually very old and does not appeal to the young readers of growing generations. For example, Fifth Business, which was published in 1970, over 35 years ago, is still studied in Grade 12 classrooms. The most recent books would be Atwood’s Handmade’s Tale from 1985. Now if you put these books side by side to literature from the 20th century, students are more likely to pick what is newest to their day and age. They wouldn’t find what happened centuries ago to be interesting to read about. With the option of more modern Canadian literature for students assignments and ISP’s, they are more likely to understand what they are reading about, what is excepted of them and be interested in what the task for them to complete is about. The more modern the literature, the more students are engaged, the more information is known about our

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