By Rachel Landau ’16, Photo Editor

Dustin Tansley ’16 mentioned recently in English class that he simply could not fathom why he and his peers had to read The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

Tansley saw no reasonable explanation as to why his teacher assigned the book, which explores contemporary race and gender issues. He noted that the plot was rather dry, the writing plain, and the details “like, totally unrelatable.”

“I really like diversity, but like, reading The Color Purple is just so alienating. What ever happened to Dickens?” Tansley said. “We should spend class reading stuff that actually matters.”

When asked if he had ever read other works of literature by women or authors of color, Tansley said that none came to mind.

“Can girls write actual books? I mean, girls can’t even be characters in books. That’s against the rules,” Tansley said.

“Actually, wait, they can, like, be married to the protagonist,” Tansley added. “Or they can be someone’s mother.”

Word of Tansley’s frustration has spread to students of all grades. One such individual is Holly Malfoy ’19, who heard about the scandal and now fears what books she might have to read in future classes.

“At least I can properly explore my heritage during Author Thesis. Maybe I will opt to read works by Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, or even Hawthorne. Wow, I have so many options. It’s great that everyone will finally get to choose between so many famous authors that are just like them,” Malfoy said.

Garrett Compson ’16, a classmate of Tansley’s, felt that the summer reading was fine, especially since his class will never have to engage with any diverse perspectives again. The rest of the year will be tastefully heteronormative and fun.

“I get why Dustin is upset, but it’s not a big deal. We will finish discussing these incomprehensible diary entries and return to good books, like The Things They Carried and Hamlet,” Compson said.

Tansley admitted that his class might improve someday; it’s just that “this pathetic, epistolary pile of trash” really put him over the edge.

“There are so many books by white men,” Tansley said. “I don’t understand why we can’t read more of them.”


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