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Role of Humanities

By abgarcia25 Jan 10, 2011 622 Words
Role of the Humanities

Northrop Frye states, “A society like ours does not have very much interest in literacy” (3), and maybe he’s right, but does that mean our society is unable to think? I strongly disagree with that assumption and it is an assumption because he has no facts to prove it, but I have facts to prove why he is wrong. Frye says that people need to learn humanities, so they can know how to think. People, who have developed better verbal skills than others, do not have very many job opportunities according to Frye. Also, just because someone has improper wording on paper, does not mean that is how he thought about it in his brain/mind. Lastly, thinking is in your personal mind, you don’t have to put it into words out loud, some people might think through images. Everyone is able to think, it’s under their personal control, and it is not something to be taught.

Frye went on about how someone who has higher quality verbal skills and has learned the humanities will have a higher chance of finding a job. I can personally say there are tons of people who may not know anything about the humanities, who are likelier to get a job quicker than someone who does. Frye says “the humanities graduate who has developed good verbal skills, whose mind has been framed to flexible and adjustable, will find many options open to him” (2). But who is to say that someone cannot have an open mind without learning the humanities. Knowing how to read and write “properly” isn’t an interest to some jobs, so maybe the only people who should learn it are the ones who need it.

“In spite of his limited verbal skills he firmly believes that he can think, that he had ideas, and that if he is just given the opportunity to express them he will be all right” says Frye (2). The boy is right though. Maybe his brain isn’t as good with writing, but he could be a genius and no one would know because he can’t write what he’s thinking. When I was three, I only vaguely knew how to read and write, but I knew my multiplication table in my head, off by heart. Therefore, just because someone can’t express something in the “proper” way, does not mean they cannot think. A lot of people can agree with the fact that you think with your brain/mind, so why does Frye say “They have to learn that ideas do not exist until they have been incorporated into words” (3)? Frye believes that your train of thoughts and your ideas are not really existent unless you put it into words. But that’s the beauty of thinking; it’s usually in words in your brain anyways. Ideas are as real in your brain as they are written down. Whether a good or bad idea, if it’s been thought, it’s real. How can you teach someone to think? That’s like trying to teach someone how to dream, you can’t. Humanities cannot give you better job opportunities, or help you express yourself better, and thinking certainly does not have to be in words in order to be a thought. No one can teach you to be who you are; your brain is yours, no matter what anyone says. So in conclusion, I personally do not think high school, or anyone for that matter can teach people how to think. School teaches people facts, and helps knowledge grow, but no one can take away your freedom of thought, or teach you how to use it.

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