Michael Gove has something of a bad reputation for generally trying to turn the UK’s education system into even more of a hellhole than it already is, but yesterday, he crossed the line in a whole new way when he announced plans to drop Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and other classic American novels from the new GCSE English literature syllabus. Instead, Gove wants British teenagers to read novels from pre-20th century authors like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, making English literature sound like a more tedious subject to take.
At this point, we’re probably going to be past the age where kids will actually want to learn English. I don’t know any teenagers who are even remotely interested in Jane Austen. When I was doing my English GSCE, one of the books I read was Of Mice and Men, and I was actually interested in it, at least back then, and I passed that course.
For me, this move is nothing more than jingoistic persecution. People like Gove are clearly uncomfortable with the fact that American novels are still relevant, and ultimately more popular than the books Gove clearly likes. If this move goes into effect, then we’ll be depriving young Brits of literary diversity, unless they can find it themselves.
Of course, the exam boards and schools of this country are still free to add any extra books they see fit, but Gove’s new rules would leave very little room for any 20th century books that weren’t written in the UK, which is ironic because the Department of Education was intending for this move to ensure that students “study a range of high-quality, intellectually challenging, and substantial” texts. Call me crazy, but a syllabus filled exclusively with British favourites is hardly substantial. If you ask me, the Department of Education is clearly a bunch of pretentious blowhards who think they can decide the fabric of our culture.
The government obviously wants to take the country back to an age of ignorance, prejudice, rampant corruption, disease, poverty, skittishness, and asphyxiating religious morality. Why else would they discourage 20th century American novels? If democracy works at all, then lets just hope the government gets its asses kicked in next year’s election. If not, then all hope is lost, and we’ll be doomed to a new age of darkness.