Do you remember the twenty-first night of September? Or at least the song. We began our class a few weeks ago by watching several music videos of a man singing, dancing, and playing instruments while the song, “September” by Earth Wind and Fire. There were four videos, each getting more extravagant through time. The videos are posted on September 21st every year since 2016. All the videos have similar characteristics that stem from our reading from Literary Analysis by Celena Kusch from the previous homework assignment. The ideas of genre come into play and we began having a group discussion on our opinions of genre, and whether it helps or hurts our ability to understand the material. When our discussion began, I assumed the members of my group would have the same opinion as me, but I was wrong. Originally I thought genre helps the reader. It helps me to categorize what I will be reading. I enjoy having an idea of what I will be reading it before I actually dive into the text. It helps me to differentiate between what I like, and what I don’t like. Genre helps me to predict what the piece of literature will contain and what to expect. Although writing styles differ among authors, the styles will generally remain the same within certain genres. My peers’ opinions made me think differently. Some don’t like the concept of genre because it puts everything into a set category. It closes the reader’s mind off to some literary works because the reader might assume they would dislike the reading because of its genre. Many people have different opinions on whether they like or dislike genre. Despite this fact, I believe genre is always helpful to a reader.
Throughout Literary Analysis Celena Kusch describes many aspects of literature. Genre refers to characterization based on aspects of a text. Readers are able to identify genres by observing certain characteristics within the text. The reader is able to do this consciously and sometimes subconsciously. Readers are trained to identify these characteristics from a young age and continue to use genre as a literary tool throughout their lives. During my elementary years of education, I was taught to choose my favorite genres, and read books from only those genres. Of course, later on, teachers told us to read everything with an open mind, but I tended to always return to my favorites because they made me feel comfortable. This year my opinions changed quite a bit. I became much more open to the idea of reading across many genres, especially when it comes to literary works by Percival Everett. He is the author of many works of literature. He has written pieces such as I am Not Sidney Poitier, The Bacchae, and Re: F(Gesture). These texts fall under the genre of novel, Greek tragedy, and poetry. No matter the genre, Percival Everett is able to put his own style into his literary works. Genre doesn’t seem to affect the way Percival Everett writes. He keeps his same style, and I believe he does this intentionally. I recall back to a conversation I had with Claire, and she told me to research some of Percival Everett’s interviews regarding genre. In these interviews, he states that he is not in favor of genre. He doesn’t believe in the categorization of literary works. In an interview with Yogita Goyal, he states, “Apparently people need categories. I choose to ignore them.” This is heavily reflected in his writing that crosses over many different genres.
Throughout the section discussing genre in Literary Analysis, Kusch makes a comparison to biology. She compares genres and subgenres to genus and species. They are necessary parts of the study for English and Biology. Genre is necessary for English studies, but opinions differ on whether it is important for a reader. It is a method of categorization among literary works, but some may choose to not follow this method. Genre is a key literary tool for the developing mind when taking literary courses. It teaches the reader what to expect within certain texts and to have preferences with reading. There are more preferences developed later on regarding genre. People may favor using genre as a literary technique and some people may not. It is all about personal preference.
Genre is a key technique in developing the ability to recognize patterns in works of literature, film, poetry, etc. In the September video sequence, the audience recognizes that the videos relate to each other because of the elements of the videos. Within literary works, genre helps the reader recognize elements that identify the type of literary work.
Percival Everett Interview: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/coming-home-from-irony-an-interview-with-percival-everett-author-of-so-much-blue/