Required Readings Majorly Impact Student Perspectives

Media & novels are relevant to the high school experience

Mallika Malaviya, Staff Writer

Over the years at the upper school, students are required to read and consume many different texts in their respective English courses. Certain books can have a lasting impact on those who read them and even have the power to influence thinking and perspective. 

Ishan Khurana ’22, says that some of his favorite books from American Literature were “The Catcher in the Rye” and “The Things They Carried.” Additionally, he enjoyed reading “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” in AP English because of character development and how the main character evolves. Khurana says “they made me change my way of thinking about me changing as a person.”

Surina Arora ’21, says that “The most impactful texts that I have consumed at my time at Blake aren’t “The Great Gatsby” or classics that you read in American literature, but just the texts that are more prevalent to society today.” Arora discusses the variety of media that are provided to students as they progress into their junior and senior years. The most impactful sources to her weren’t necessarily novels, but rather podcasts and films. In the class The 21st Century Novel, Arora enjoyed the podcast “S-Town.” She says, “It taught me that you can understand people despite their background and despite what they believe.” Similar to Khurana, these sources have a larger impact than just a class text. Additionally, Arora enjoyed the films “Parasite” and “Do the Right Thing” in her Self and Others course. She says that these films, “Emphasize the disparities that exist between the different socioeconomic classes,” and allow students to see outside the “Blake Bubble.”  

Emily Rotenberg

Like Khurana, Clara Lee Molina ’21 also enjoyed both “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” She says that “The way that some of these people wrote is so elevated and so unique and it has really impacted the way that I write.” Additionally, she liked “The Bluest Eye” and “The Great Gatsby.” Like many others, Molina says that the last line of the Great Gatsby really stuck with her. 

Johnny Perry ’22 liked reading the “Catcher in the Rye” in American Literature, which he thought was a “very interesting coming of age story.” Additionally, he enjoyed reading “Madame Bovaryî in Visions of Realism, which is a novel that focuses on issues like class struggle.