How many times have you been asked this question? It might have also sounded like this:
“Miss, has being an English teacher, like, killed every book for you?”
“Do you end up analysing every scene in a movie all the time?”
“Honey, can’t you just enjoy the story?”
Re-reading through Jack Thompson’s first chapter in Reconstructing Literature Teaching I have just found the best answer ever to these questions! Thompson quotes Selden (1985, p.3):
Readers may believe that theories and concepts will only deaden the spontaneity of their response to literary works. They may forget that ‘spontaneous’ discourse about literature is unconsciously dependent on the theorising of older generations. Their talk of ‘feeling’, ‘imagination’, ‘genius’, ‘sincerity’ and ‘reality’ is full of dead theory which is sanctified by time and has become part of the language of common sense.
Wonderful, huh? I couldn’t have said it better myself. ‘Dead theory’…I’m gonna use that one!