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Engl 104w 441999 A Confederacy of Dunces as a Criticism of Higher Education Whether in an effort to become more educated and to obtain more lucrative jobs or due to the need for better education in an increasingly technological job market the United States has seen a rising trend in the percentage of individuals who choose to attend college and graduate school Not only has the number of individuals seeking higher education increased but criticism of higher education has increased as well Common criticism has included the idea of colleges and universities being more concerned with financial aspects than with their students as well as the idea of students using higher education not to become more educated individuals but to increase their chances of earning higher wages after college or graduate school A Confederacy of Dunces satirical focus on education and learning provides examples of these and other criticisms of higher education More specifically the characters of the story show the reader the educated are not always the ones who fare the best in terms of their emotional well-being and their ability to function in society In looking at the characters in the novel there seems to be an inverse relationship in terms of the amount of education a character has received in comparison to that characters ability to function normally in society to not cause others distress to contribute physically and mentally etc For example Ignatius has the greatest amount of education and proves himself the most socially backwards followed by Myrna then by Mrs Levy an overconfident psychologist with no more than community college experience Also the reader is shown that the most educated characters are also the most satirized and laughable characters in the story Two obvious characters the characters of Ignatius Reilly and Myrna Minkoff illustrate some of the possible detrimental effects of higher education Although it is difficult to comment on Myrna evidence is provided throughout the novel
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