Essay Sample on Western Canon: Controversy Over Canonical Influence on Scholars

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  644 Words
Date:  2023-01-11


Western cannon are literature works considered to have been influential during a particular period. For instance, books written during the 1800s would describe works of that particular time. Teaching students using these literature books would, therefore, allow the students to understand the historical events of that period. Literary canons despite being influential to scholars, it has since face controversy. The controversies include debates on whether the old western cannon should be updated with cannons that are more modern or not. Time and events changes and therefore updating western cannon with more modern cannons are necessary.

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Modern cannons would improve societal inclusivity. The western literary cannon were based on economic, education and the privileged especially the white men. The literature being biased meant that some quotas of the society were excluded. Individuals who were not educated, women or children were not included while drafting the cannons. The modern society, however, is advocating for inclusivity. Including modern pieces of literature to western cannon would, therefore, be in line with modern society, which treats all people equally regardless of societal status. Race and ethnicity could also be dealt away with modern cannon. It is through modern cannon that allowed the foundation of black studies programs in the late 1970s (Morrison and Toni, 20) therefore paving the way for the inclusion of all regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Including modern cannons to western cannon would help modern writers to empower themselves. Western cannons are limits the way modern writers' texts are represented (Moretti, Franco, 36-54). Updating cannon with modern literature will, therefore, empower new writers to distribute their works through the internet. The Internet provides a platform where everyone can access any form of literature without shortchanged. Allowing modernization of cannon, therefore, will encourage writers to put out their works for the world to see through posting on platforms such as google books, public and private online libraries. The internet does not filter the writer's work, therefore, making it the best place to further modernization of cannons.

The modern society is driven by trends. Everything now is about trends, and you will not miss rankings from fashion to upcoming movies. Updating old cannon will, therefore, help the society to be critical thinkers without relying on societal trends. Modernizing cannons, therefore, will help society not to depend on what everyone thinks is important. Cannons were meant to help readers to think critically. The modern society does not fancy the old cannon. Therefore the only way to keep them thinking critically is through modernization of old cannon (Gorak and Jan 6). The modern society has been left to depend on others without freely thinking on their own. In order to avoid giving away the liberty of independent thinking, it is necessary to include modern cannon to the existing one. Through modern cannons, people will be able to be convinced not to allow totalitarianism. Totalitarianism has made people not to think for themselves but believes that authorities are there to take care of them.


Modernizing cannon will help students to understand current events taking place in our society today. Currently, there are literary works that cannot fulfill modern learning objectives. It would be good if curriculum drafters replace old classics with modern ones. Modernizing cannon will be an opener for students to be good literary and media critics. It can also help learners to understand stereotypes going on in society. Events can be understood through modernization of western cannon; for instance, a student can read to kill a Mockingbird with the perspective of understanding modern African American events that have shaped their existence.

Works Cited

Gorak, Jan. The making of the modern canon: genesis and crisis of a literary idea. A&C Black, 1991.

Moretti, Franco. "Conjectures on world literature." New left a review (2000): 54-68.

Morrison, Toni. "Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The A fro-American Presence in American Literature." Michigan quarterly review 28 (1988).

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Essay Sample on Western Canon: Controversy Over Canonical Influence on Scholars. (2023, Jan 11). Retrieved from

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