Laurie Halse Anderson (via booksturnmugglesintowizards)
Philippine literature has a new wave of books that quite interest the youth today: Wattpad fiction. Wattpad is a website that allows its visitors to read and write novels, and the said books — such as She is Dating the Gangster, Diary ng Panget and Break the Casanova’s Heart — were once published on the World Wide Web, before they rose to phenomal fame. But then, while they DID capture the hearts of many teenagers today, others disdainfully remarked that those books are insults to literature, particularly creative writing students and English majors. They claim that because of these books, Philippine literature is plunging into ultimate lows, what with the grammar, structure, style and not to mention, the content. The latter is not substantial enough, they say, and that the plots are overly repetitive: the underdog chances upon a bad boy, and unexpectedly, they turn out to be an item.
With that, those students would debate, the youth of today is now exposed to literature with no morals. Those books only explore shallow depths; teenage love and ONLY teenage love is the central focus here. That then makes them fear the effect on those books on teenagers: that they would grow up into brainwashed dimwits whose only goal in life is to score a boyfriend/girlfriend at such a wee age, and because of that, our generation wouldn’t progress much come the time we are all that’s left to run a nation.
This raises the question, then: What should the youth today read? Of course, one would say that teenagers of this day and age should read books that would develop their linguistic skills and shape their minds. That way, this generation would have the knowledge and intellect that would propel us to greatness, indeed. And with this, writers could write books that we could pride on internationally and level with the works of foriegn literature. This, again, brings us back to the question: What should the youth today read?
The answer, my dear friend, is not classics — definitely NOT classics, not yet.
Yes, they are great books, but they aren’t doing much, truth be told. This is the mistake the education system today is committing. They are imposing too much on the youth such difficult and great pieces of literature that they don’t do squat; they don’t at all. Nowadays, students are expected that they understand the works of Jose Rizal, Francisco Baltazar, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Homer… They are amazing, no denying that, but in the eyes of students? Boring boring boring… What do they know and what do they care about corruption, greed, war, pride and revenge? Those were what concerned people of a different age. This is the 21st century already! They need books in which they could relate to, which speaks TO them. High school should require books that do exactly just that — books they could relate to and LEARN FROM as well. But what books could actually achieve such? Quality young adult novels on self identity and discovery, that is what. This is because it is in your teenage years that you begin to ponder with all intensity: who am I? What am I worth? What is the purpose of my life? Thus, we need literature with characters that ask the same things themselves — the readers then would embark on journeys of the pursuit of who you really are and they will root for the characters on the way — unbeknowst to them that, hey! I am learning! Cool! I love books! That would then create a bridge for them to explore and appreciate classics — it must be a step-by-step process of loving books — when their minds are now critical and open enough to maneuver those.
But what happens in a classroom setting? Students are made to analyze but not truly READ. Because of all this, they are conditioned to think that reading lengthy books with proper composition (not written this way, which Wattpad books would have! :p =)) OMG gwapo nya kyaaaaa..) is associated with studying (which they despise) Thus, they don’t read, and they are unaware of the fact that young adult books that aren’t difficult to read but are substantial AND entertaining are within reach. Since they don’t read books that ought to be devoured and seized up by people their age, they hurdle through their teenage years with confusion and doubts, thus, they divert their lives and seek out identity in a significant other, which, quite frankly, is the problem here: they are awashed in this delusion that love — and only love — could mend their need for happiness that they forget that your worth isn’t based on just that.
This is what the Wattpad books seemed to have augmented to.
When in reality, we don’t realize how literature — like media — could impact society in many ways that we could imagine.
But there is hope. There is always hope. The challenge here for grown-ups is to instill to the youth a love for books without compromising literary quality. This would then develop writers who could write literature with quality and substance, and of course, while capturing what the youth is all about… That is, more than just teenage love. People would then realize that at the end of the day, you are more than just that, and that you may fall in love and you may have your heart broken and shattered along the way, but you know within yourself that it isn’t what life is about because you have yourself, and you are in touch of who you truly are, which no one could never take away from you.
It would run in my mind in great detail, but now I could only have a vague recollection of what happened then.
People do move on.