A new college semester is about to get underway, and in addition to the usual composition I learned this lesson early. In my second year of college teaching, I was assigned my first literature class – American lit. I was psyched. I took a New Criticism approach, having students interpret the text through close reading, with the idea that the meaning was contained within the walls of the work. To make matters even better, the class was fantastic: Engaged, open-minded, curious.