'Reader in a Lost World" Review

My tenth grade English teacher and advisor, Dr. Holden, recently published an article, “Reader in a Lost World”, (http://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/reader-in-a-lost-world/) for The Marginalia Review of Books which is an online international review of academic literature on history, religion, and culture. As I was only exposed to his writing in the classroom, I was curious to read what he had to say and discover his purpose and technique as an author.


As a student in modern society, I often find myself trapped in the monotonous cycle of completing assignments simply because I have to. I, like many others, have become accustomed to blindly following the template that the education system has laid out, unaware of the negative impact on students’ capacity for true learning. 

Holden’s essay, “Readers in a Lost World,” exposes today’s modern generation that currently suffers from a lack of literary comprehension. He focuses on the classic five paragraph essay structure that is rooted in students’ minds which has created an illusion that any deviation from this norm is not acceptable. But in reality, literature has no formula. Strict adherence to this standard format does little to enhance students’ writing abilities; rather, it creates a model they feel they must conform to which consequently prevents the exploration of creative thought. As students focus on writing within this specific format, they lose sight of the true purpose of an essay. 

Written with colloquial yet sophisticated diction, Holden draws on his experience as both a teacher and a writer to express his perspective on the purpose and significance of an essay. He uses direct literary allusions to connect his argument with familiar characters and storylines, including Greek mythology and references from other credible writers. He emphasizes the importance of reading as the foundation for all literature as it connects human minds and provides insight to one’s subjectivity. He explains how the five-paragraph essay prevents this subjectivity from developing and therefore prevents students from developing intellectually. Not only will readers understand the misconception of the five-paragraph essay, they will also learn how to properly compose an essay through valuable strategies that can be employed in their own writing.