Since starting college, I've found my relationship with reading changing a lot. Not only do I have less time to read what I want, but I also have been forced to expand what I read through the classes I've been taking. I've read books I never would have even thought about reading before and I've enjoyed them. These classes have also been changing the process of reading for me.
Analysis has become a much bigger part of how I read. For the longest time, I've associated analysis with a lack of enjoyment when reading. I know, I know, an English major doesn't like analysis?!? Strange, but true. In high school, despite the fact that I was reading upwards of seven books a month for pure enjoyment, I tended to despise my English classes because of the heavy focus on analysis and the lack of choice I had in the reading material. I always thought that it was a waste of time to spend hours upon hours picking apart a single sentence of paragraph to try to figure out what the author might have been implying.
Over the years, I've come to grudgingly respect analysis. There's something incredibly satisfying about making connections in books and seeing the way what you're reading dances with the life you're living. I've found this particularly interesting now that I've declared an English Creative Writing major and most of the classes are discussion based. Being a writer has also majorly impacted the way I view analysis. Before I started writing my own stories, I didn't realize how much went into every single word a writer puts down on the page and the significance behind each one.
Recently, I've started taking an English class that focuses primarily on young adult lit. We've read things like Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and are even starting Boxers and Saints, graphic novels created by Gene Luen Yang. All these books are ones that I would normally pick up because I want to or enjoy them. I wouldn't pick them up with the intention of deeply analyzing the meaning and importance of the story. But I have to do that for the class and I've actually found myself starting to enjoy it. I like digging into these stories and actually discussing the significance with my peers.
I think a large part of my enjoyment of analysis now is this young adult class I'm taking. It's the first English class I've ever taken that actually gives me a choice in what I read. Normally, I'm told that I have to read a certain book but this professor is so awesome and is actually giving us a little freedom. Rather than give no options, she lays out four or five books that we can read for a section of the class and it's great! That bit of freedom has done wonders for my enjoyment of the class and the reading material. It makes me more motivated to actually do the reading and engage in the discussions that go on in class. Because I chose a book I'm interested in.
English classes have always been a significant part of my life. They present a challenge that I enjoy. But college has changed the way I feel about the analysis and enjoyment I get out of reading. Especially my YA lit class. I genuinely think that more teachers and professors should try to present their students with a choice in the reading material; it has made all the difference with my own learning and enjoyment.
What do you guys think about analysis when reading? Do you enjoy it? What was your experience like taking English classes and how do you think that experience could be improved? Join the discussion down below!