The subtle paradigm that has limited the selection of scholarly and teachable literature is discriminatory. Under this framework, it is necessary to exclude multitudes of pieces on the basis of vocabulary, tenacity of plot, and relation to real life/humanity. Students have read books for centuries under this paradigm, which seems to have been exposed and breached only recently. Of course my perception of literature would be influenced by this dominant paradigm, and without an open mind, I probably wouldn’t find “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” appropriate for a college classroom setting.
One of the major problems with extensively limiting what can be accepted as literature is the tendency to consequently and inevitably accept texts that resemble each other. This includes similar authors, plots, and conflicts. Regardless of plot and surface level analyses, these books also offer similar discussion-starters and thus contribute similar revelations to our understanding of humanity and existence as a whole. Recent debates on the significance of diversity in the professional, educational, social, political, and etc. setting have led to unanimous conclusions: it is important. Diversity not only opens minds to understand epistemological standpoints and reevaluate the self, it also forces individuals to recognize the value of “other.” Accepting this as valid, it’s hard to stick within the initial paradigm and exclude “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” as an acceptable piece of literature to be studied. Just because it is different, doesn’t mean it should be immediately written off as invaluable and unhelpful.
Literature is meant to relate to life, and life is multifaceted. There are social, political, religious, financial, etc. aspects that constitute the experiences of daily life. One aspect alone can discredit the use of the tradition paradigm of evaluating literature: historical placement. Regardless the content of literature, its mere placement in history and its reverberating social effects are worth study. Due to this fact, I would easily accept “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” as literature. Doyle’s contributions to his contemporaneous society are indisputable. His work influenced the daily decisions of readers, and they demanded the continuation of his stories. Our class discussions…well, our class lecture…on micro-history also supports my argument that the story “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” created such social affects, that the story should be accepted as a historical piece, and thus something worth studying.
I wouldn’t say Doyle’s story is limited, or doesn’t meet a standard of literature, but I would rather claim external impositions limit our acceptance of the story as literature.