ASST. A&E EDITOR
Whittier College’s Literature Association is new in town, though their interests stretch far beyond the pages of traditional literature. From pop culture to the obscure, the Literature Association welcomes those of all creative interests, with a focus on writing and analytical understanding of motifs and genres, from classics to fanfiction. According to co-founder and second-year Angel Alcantar, the central goal of the club is for “literature to be embraced and loved by all.”
Alcantar admits there is an air of elitism around the literary community. The Literature Association strives to create an environment where students can discuss and engage with different creative endeavors, though the name of the club may dissuade students from attending meetings. “I think it’s really important to include more than old British white men in a lot of English classes because that’s what makes up the majority of them,” said fourth-year Joanna Dalldorf. “I would be interested to talk about more forms of media in general.”
Since the club was founded late in the Spring semester, the Literature Association plans to use the end of the semester to foster a constructive, creative atmosphere to channel into the Fall semester, when they will begin to host writing workshops and similar events. However, discussion and critical thought about creative works will remain one of the core goals of the Literature Association. After all, these principles allow people to become better readers, writers, and observers. “We’re just trying to encompass all storytelling, really,” said co-founder second-year Kaylan Amerzcua, whose enthusiastic promotion of the Literature Association in her classes has drawn multiple people to their meetings. “I personally think [the club] brings a little bit of academic culture to the student body. We get to talk about academic things in a peer-led environment, outside of class.”
Their open atmosphere is designed to remove the pressure one may feel inside a classroom or in a more academic setting, while still applying concepts commonly explored within academia. This allows students to translate these ideas to works they frequently engage with, whether they be graphic novels, news articles, or even their classes. “Just being here that [first] meeting really inspired me to like get back into reading and writing,” said third-year Danni Worthy-Mays. “I had stopped doing it for fun because I’m not an English major.”
Regardless of your major, the Literature Association encourages everyone to attend their meetings, discuss their favorite forms of creative media, and engage with their topics. At their most recent meeting, the Literature Association sparked a debate on what deems something as fanfiction. While this may not seem like a form of “classic” literature, the Literature Association strives to include all genres of written texts and highlight the evolution of classics to more modern forms.
The willingness and emphasis on highlighting multiple forms of creative expression — though generally focusing on the written works — is what the founders hope will draw people to the meetings. The previous meetings have already sparked debates over the foundation of fanfiction and had people bonding over their secret love of young adult novel tropes. “You might find common ground with someone you never thought you’d have something in common with,” said co-founder, first-year Ariana Juarez.
As a first-year, Juarez expects to see this club grow throughout her time at Whittier. “I hope that, in the future, the club is able to stand on its own with students who are interested in sharing what they love and that more people — not just English majors — find a place here,” said Juarez.
If you want to see more of the Literature Association, their next meeting will be Thursday, May, 2 at 5:15 p.m. in Hoover 205. Any questions for the Literature Association can be directed to their email, firstname.lastname@example.org.