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English Subject Necessary for Canadian Students

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In Ontario, it is mandatory for high school students to take English all four years. Graduating students in Ontario should only study Canadian literature in a Grade 12 English course because we need to become more familiar with our literature. Three reasons for this are; the need to focus on our own Canadian culture, despite being surrounded by other cultures, the need to promote and establish our own writers, and the need to encourage younger Canadian authors. Because of this Graduating students in Ontario should only study Canadian Literature in Grade 12.

Students in Ontario taking English should only study Canadian literature because students are completely swamped by the different culture around us. This demonstrates that students have always been a “branch plant” of another country such as England and France means that, our own culture has never had the chance to develop.

Furthermore, students in Ontario would study Shakespeare, British writers  and American authors such as Fitzgerald.

But many schools limit a students exposure to the Canadian novel to ISP reading lists. In this sense, Canada is an attic in which Student has stored American and British literature without considering our own. 1 No wonder a Canadian student has problems appreciating their culture.
Often what Canadian literature is studied is very old. This includes works such as Mordecai's Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz or Lawrences Stone Angel. Fifth Business, which was published in 1970 – over 35 years ago – is still on many courses of study in Gr. 12 classrooms. Atwood's Handmade's Tale the most recent of these books published in 1985; over ten years ago. Again while most teachers
allow and may even encourage a student to focus on more modern Canadian books for their ISP, his classroom experience is usually limited to studying these golden oldies.

Then there is the issue of these authors being primarily white, English Canadian and not reflective of our modern multicultural society. As Robertson Davies stated, “ Canada is not going to have a national literature in the mode of those European lands where a long history has bound the people together, and where a homogeneous racial inheritance has given them a language, customs, and even a national dress of their own.” 2 Students need to look at the work of Canadian authors who have come here from different backgrounds. Connecting with our multicultural student body is really important! As Canadians, Students are lost in a sea of international influences – Students hardly know who students are. And students do this without realizing it. ‘What is a Canadian? A Canadian is a fellow wearing English tweeds, a Hong Kong shirt and Spanish shoes, who sips Brazilian coffee sweetened with Philippine sugar from a Bavarian cup while nibbling Swiss cheese, sitting at a Danish desk over a Persian rug, after coming home in a German car from an Italian movie..' is an anonymous saying that practically defines the typical Canadian experience. No wonder that Margaret Atwood can comment that Canadians have issues with establishing their identity! In discussing Canadian writers, she argues that Canada as a state of mind does not really exist:

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