In this chapter of Letters to a Teacher, Pickering says he was to write a two page essay on the purpose of an English major. He wrote two sentences.
What is the purpose of an English class? Myriad.
The college requires that the student be able to write and demonstrate this in multiple modes. They require that the student be able to research and write an argumentative research paper. They require that the student be able to pass a grammar test.
What is my purpose in English class? To get them to read critically, thoughtfully. To expose them to literature I think everyone should have read. To have them be able to express themselves in writing in such a way that others can understand what they mean and enjoy the reading of it.
I don’t always get what I want for my students in the class.