Editorial: Sparknotes cuts at analytical skills

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Nina Kaplan” align=”alignnone” width=”300″][/media-credit]

Junior William Lightfoot reads “Huckelberry Finn” for English class during his free in the Learning Commons.

Imagine that all you read are picture books with big fonts, colorful illustrations and simple text. Now imagine trying to read Macbeth, one of this schools’ curriculum-required books. Comprehending and digesting a play like Macbethwould be incredibly difficult.
Today, many students use the summaries and analyses on the website Sparknotes instead of reading actual books. In many ways, Sparknotes is a picture book in comparison to classic literature.

On the main page of Sparknotes, there are links to videos and study guides of classic literature with a complete analysis of the novel. Students often read these detailed summaries instead of an assigned book.

Reading books and thinking about their meaning is always better than stripping ideas from a website. If you become reliant on Sparknotes,  you may lose analytical and critical reading skills.

In addition, taking ideas from Sparknotes and placing them into your English paper is considered plagiarism, which could earn you a zero for the paper and possibly earn you disciplinary action.

Sparknotes steals the eloquence and style of books in general. Especially in Shakespeare plays, the style of writing is essential to the comprehension of the story. Many of Shakespeare’s plays are in iambic pentameter, a type of poetry, which adds significantly to the plays.

Some novels tend to be difficult to digest, which is why we recommend talking to your English teacher about the sections you do not understand or re-reading the confusing sections of the book carefully, instead of relying on Sparknotes.

We recommend that students not use Sparknotes for instead of reading their novel, because it is always better to learn from the actual book than a quick summary.