Abstract: This article describes a qualitative research project designed to explore the relationship between the study of a FL literary text and the development of competence in a second culture (C2). The study compared the attitudes and performances of students who read a fact sheet about Côte d'Ivoire and the attitudes and performances of students who studied a poem about Côte d'Ivoire. We found that the students who read the fact sheet learned about the culture of Côte d'Ivoire in a rigid way that could foster stereotypes. Students who read the poem, on the other hand, explored their own feelings about the language and content of the poem. The study supports the notion that literary texts contribute to students' affective awareness and cognitive flexibility, and are therefore more effective for developing C2 competence. This study suggests ways to achieve the goals, articulated in the national standards, of fostering knowledge about and understanding of other cultures.