Blessedassurance wrote:Name some useful things the study of English as a major entails.
I was an English major. I didn’t go to college to learn a trade or a skill like engineering or accounting. I went to college because I wanted an opportunity to think things for myself and I found that studying English literature was a great vehicle to do that.
One (trite) complaint against English classes is that because there’re “no right answers” one can merely “say anything” and be credited. But any self-respecting professor who’s part of a decent department isn’t going to give you an A+ for turning in just anything
. And regardless, an English class can be as hard as you make it. If you’re lazy but have a little talent perhaps you can get by bullshiting. But if you’re motivated to develop your mind there’s no better way to work your mental muscles than by wrestling with great books and great ideas.
In the hard sciences it’s the professor’s responsibility to challenge the students. In an English program the onus is sometimes on the student. But there’s nothing wrong with this. I’ve met many science-minded people who deride the humanities, but their arguments are always fallacious and usually stem from (1) frustration caused by ignorance, (2) frustration caused by prior failure, or (3) frustration caused by lack of talent.
You seem to be suffering from number one. Some useful things that the study of English entail are logic, rhetoric, and grammar. None of these arts are simple and to declare them so only reveals something about you yourself. An idea can always be refined, an argument can always be tighter, and a paper can always be written better.
Blessedassurance wrote:Ha, don't get me wrong, I love English. It's simply useless. You improve simply by reading.
Sure, you can improve by reading. But the same can be said for every other subject. You can pick up a book on nursing, or economics, or mathematics, or engineering and teach it to yourself. This quibble has nothing to do with the study of English specifically.