Due to the surging popularity of young adult novels and teen fiction books, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Dr. Julio C. Teehankee has decided to upend the liberal arts curriculum and implement some changes in the college. One of the changes includes the revision of the course outline of HUMALIT (Introduction to Literature) in lieu of the ASEAN integration happening this academic year.
“We’ve actually been thinking of this since last summer, and I believe that with the ASEAN integration happening [this year], it’s the perfect time to implement this change in the college. The professors and I have noticed how drawn the students are when it comes to reading young adult books, and we’ve decided to revamp the required readings in HUMALIT to make it more exciting and interesting for the students,” explains Dr. Teehankee.
Dr. Teehankee adds, “One of the new required readings we’ll be offering next school year will be Fifty Shades of Grey, which we believe is very popular today among the youth. We believe that it’s great to expose the students to different kinds of contemporary literature, this being one of the great examples.”
Fifty Shades of nay?
Although not foreign to peoples’ ears, Fifty Shades of Grey has had notorious feedback from readers and critics alike since its 2011 release. What started as a fan fiction of Twilight in fanfiction.net has now sold over 100 million copies and has been translated into 52 different languages. It also has a one-star 25 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Written by British novelist E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic romance novel that tells the story of Anastasia Steele, a college graduate, and her BDSM relationship with young billionaire and seemingly psycho, Christian Grey.
This unconventional relationship proves to be taxing on Anastasia’s
part, as she wants a “normal” loving relationship with Christian, but he insists on having their unusual relationship because of his dark past.
Students in frenzy
This untimely change in the course outline of HUMALIT has garnered mixed reactions from different students of DLSU, with some feeling excited over the fact that Fifty Shades of Grey is now a required reading, and others angry and threatening to drop out of the University if the new course outline is implemented. Meanwhile, a few students simply feel neutral about the upcoming change.
Isa Vivas (II, ISE-LGL) shares, “I’m really angry that they let this happen, especially to a world class university such as De La Salle. I haven’t taken HUMALIT yet and was planning on taking it next school year, but with this new course outline, I don’t think I’ll be taking HUMALIT soon. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be returning to DLSU after the summer.”
Gini Sang Kang Kong (X, AB-ISJ) has the same sentiments as Isa Vivas, feeling frustrated over the college’s decision. “This is the start of the degradation of our beloved institution. I am appalled. DLSU is a big joke.”
“Wait til my father hears about this! I’m surprised the institution’s still letting Teehankee walk around free. My father always said that Teehankee was the worst thing that ever happened to this place. You hang around with riffraff like these and it’ll rub off on you,” says Draco Malfoy (II, AB-ISE) savagely in a heavy British accent. “As for me, I’d rather read about lightning-scarred Potter instead.”
“I actually don’t care to be honest. I just can’t wait for the school year to start so I can start having allowance again because I’m not taking special term!” quips Justine Lubag (II, AB-LIT).
Others had more positive reactions as they embraced the new required reading for HUMALIT.
“I am so excited for the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, you have no idea,” gushes Chris Grayson (II, AB-LIT), a soon-to-be HUMALIT student that was asked to share his opinion on the new books being considered. “All those classics are so boring and irrelevant to current issues. I’m so glad the professors took the hint and introduced a true masterpiece of 21st century literature.”
Even professors are weighing in their opinions regarding the matter. HUMALIT professor, Dr. Anna Woode, has only positive thoughts about the upcoming change in the course curriculum. She is busy working with other HUMALIT professors in revising the curriculum to adjust for the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which has to be done in order to focus on the complex themes and subjects explored in the books.
“We know that students will have a hard time accepting it if we have to drop the other novels,” states Dr. Woode. “It certainly will be a tough decision. But ultimately we have to do Fifty Shades of Grey justice, because it is very difficult to learn from a book filled with such subtle and beautiful meaning without giving it your undivided attention.”
“Students have to choose whether to cling to an outdated curriculum filled with irrelevant, outdated books, or have the chance to undergo a true learning experience with Fifty Shades of Grey. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”
What to expect
Dr. Woode cautions that HUMALIT classes will be much harder for upcoming students. She advises that the best course of action would be to do some advanced reading on the novel to prepare for the revised curriculum.
“Older students have had the luxury of learning easier books such as the classics, Smaller and Smaller Circles, or The God of Small Things. Not anymore,” she says solemnly. “Upcoming students will have to learn to deal with the challenges of learning a novel which teaches them subtly about real world issues and the problems that plague society itself.”
“Fifty Shades of Grey will challenge them to think critically and to think deeply, to question the very relationships they have with loved ones, and to ponder where the fine line between love and hatred begins,” she continues. “Certainly, these new students will have their hands full, even if we do decide to drop the books from the original curriculum. It will be a very exciting time for HUMALIT next academic year.”
Dr. Woode also shares some hopes for the future. “Right now, the only decisions being made are about the first book of the trilogy. Someday, I hope that HUMALIT students would have the chance to be taught the whole trilogy, as the essence of its message will be revealed to those lucky future students.”
The revisions to the course outline are said to become effective by first term in AY 2015-2016. Whether students agree with the changes being made or not, it appears they will not have a choice but to focus on the supposed complexities and themes of this famous trilogy in the coming years.