Today on MetaFilter: a link to a report of a Pennsylvania man who, accused of spitting at a police officer, has been sentenced to read To Kill a Mockingbird. The discussion focuses mostly on those texts with some apparent punitive value, the things they made you suffer through in eighth grade. But I wonder: if, as Richard Rorty claims, the social and political value of literature is in its ability to help us build a sense of solidarity with those whose life experiences are very different from our own, is there a better way to frame such a reading sentence? If the task were not punishment but rehabilitation, what would you assign, and for what offenses? Or, conversely, what offenses would your favorite novels serve as remedies for?
Kathleen Fitzpatrick 1 Minute
Published by Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English, Michigan State University. Author of Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University. View all posts by Kathleen Fitzpatrick