Teaching the Canon; Jane Austen´s Pride and Prejudice

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: This essay presents a literature study for students of English as a foreign language, and it has its basis in the Canon debate. The Canon debate refers to the questions about what literature should be used in schools and what is regarded as classic literature. The classic novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is an example of a canonical text, the one I intend to use in my pedagogical project. The novel has been chosen because its themes can be related to many students’ own experience regarding gender and ethics in today’s society. Students in a Swedish High School learning English as a foreign language will participate in a questionnaire, which will be a part of the research. They will answer questions about their own experience of classic novels in general and how they want to work with Pride and Prejudice in particular. The essay will explore tensions in the novel regarding society, gender, and ethics in relation to contemporary society. Further, it will show how a classic novel such as Pride and the Prejudice can be meaningful, interesting and fun to teach, and help to make students willing to read and enjoy a classic novel. The research will help teachers to work with a classic novel in teaching reading, speaking and writing to foreign language students in a fruitful way.

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