Being an English Major Is Getting in the Way of My Reading

I have a confession to make: While I love to read, I do not always like to study literature (pronounced "lit-tra-tuure" by those few pretentious dons who wear pipes and mustaches).

I am jealous of those people who Virginia Woolf and Samuel Johnson call "common reader[s]." He or she, being "worse educated," is not bound by the same "literary prejudices" that have been taught to me over and over again for the past four years at university.

For instance, there are times when I read a particular part of a novel, verse, or story and I cannot wait to explore the beauty of it in class. However, upon arriving to class, I am informed that the professor is only interested in discussing theory and its applications to the work. I am horrified when faced with the perversity of this practice. Before my very eyes, as if with an iron pole, a passage, line or word is sufficiently beaten and rendered near-death. Unable to wriggle away or defend itself, I want to scream on its behalf, but I am unable to because I am drowning in theory terms- supplement, deconstruction and ideology.

For the sake of my own sanity, it helps to acquiesce to the common reader still stubbornly holding on within me. I often entertain the idea of cheating on my school books (sometimes with three or four books at a time). During class, I am prone to anticipate the last day of the term when I can look forward to a holiday of reading. Mostly though, I dream about when I will get another opportunity to visit those marvelous places "to humble to be called libraries" and simply pick a book on a whim. I long for the freedom to be, as Woolf describes, "hasty, inaccurate and superficial, snatching now this poem, now that scrap of old furniture, without caring where he finds it..."