The quintessential curriculum you will encounter as an English student

A photo of a prim scroll
PHOTO: Biker Jun

By: Kelly Chia, Humour Editor

My fellow beloved English students,

After having spent almost six years at this beloved institution, I have derived the perfect formula for the English class that everyone will experience in university. It comes down to five essentials. Now, I love literature, just like anyone else who found comfort in their English teachers in high school and only know how to express their feelings in long paragraphs. But sometimes, you just have to laugh through the pain, as an academic bonding exercise.

So let’s drink those 4:00 a.m. espresso cups in praise of our 2,500 word essays, shall we?


Oh, of course this would include Daddy Willy. With any luck, you are learning about Hamlet, Macbeth, or King Lear, because for us edgy folks, his later stuff is really where it’s at. In terms of violence and existential self-analysis, that is. We love that here, as you’ll hear about later. But hey, it’s fun to read about fairies, too!

Cool 1800s author

Take your pick: are you studying Science Fiction? Postmodernism? The Romantics? Well, my favourite author, so far, is Mary Shelley. You go, queen, keep your husband’s heart in your drawer (allegedly) and invent the science fiction genre at 18. Love you, you goth genius.

Some racist author or work for “critical analysis”

For the sake of everyone’s education, it is necessary to critique and analyze our faults, especially as a nation on stolen lands. Obviously, everyone is equally affected by works discussing the horrors of colonization, imperialism, and brutalistic nonsense in an academic sense. For some reason, your classes seem to think historical racism is more relevant to teach than the current racism happening today.

There’s no victims in historical representation, because “it was so long ago,” the authors were geniuses, and your profs thinks trauma is a thought exercise. That’s totally why I’m reading Joseph Conrad and H.P. Lovecraft again. But if you get really lucky, you may get one (1) book about resilience and recovery. As a treat.

Bonus sexism for character development

You know how reading about racism provokes “interesting discussions?” Well, meet its equally prevalent friend: women experiencing violence or death in everything you read. And I mean, everything. Violence for literary meaning, as it turns out, is still disturbing.

Later, in discussing how there has to be more literature that doesn’t involve devastating minority figures, you might be told that devastation is worth “exploring.” It’s so important to have your opinions reflected in a hell chamber in the name of academic learning and “objectivity!” But it will serve as proper essay fodder for when you discuss how “justified” or unjustified their deaths were.

To be an English major is to exist in a state of dissonance.

Sigmund Freud

WHAT IS WITH THIS GUY. He is everything everywhere all at once, and not in a kind way. I never want to see Sigmund again. When we meet in Hell, it’s on sight. Psychoanalyze that, dream daddy.

If you’re wondering why after all this criticism I am still an English major, it is because I am extra. I will not hesitate to unleash a MLA cited 3,000 word paper on my loud opinions.

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