While I enjoy Elaine Scarry’s approach and thoughts on the responsibilities of the literature instructor, I wonder if it’s too grandiose of even narcissistic. I understand that we are in a way shaping minds and thought processes, but it almost looks at the students as empty vessels.
In regards to the role of research, though, I was intrigued. It is important to keep learning and to look at the processes by which we come to an opinion. It’s something I have, in far simpler terms, tried to stress to my students- that research, learning, and the acknowledgment of the way the humanities set us apart from other animals are all important factors to the expansion of our minds. I’m not quite sure that I agree with her on the footnotes bit, but I do like the idea that research must be tested, that our ideas must be put through through the he gauntlet of academia. It implies a discourse rather than a one sided idea of learning, which is something I feel very strongly about. I think the more we teach our students to not just worry about the end goal but the entire process of formulating thought and opinion, the more they will learn.