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    I despised reading 'the death of a salesman' But after reading it I realised that though I didn't enjoy it, it meant I could talk about it and it means that I can discuss it.
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    I think its fair to say that a lot of teenagers find reading to be a chore, especially if its a book you're not interested in and just have to read it at school for exams or coursework or whatnot.

    A lot of the time the teachers choose to just prepare certain scenes/ chapters in a novel in lessons rather than getting the class to read the whole book because they know it would take so long and isnt always necessary for exams, although I find this a great shame. When I studied Romeo and Juliet at school we only read a couple of scenes and I didnt even understand them in context, we just read a couple because they were the ones focussed on in our coursework. I did my coursework without ever knowing what actually happens in the play!

    I do think, however, that kids who read more tend to have a better lexis. For example, my friend reads a lot (although tbh she mainly reads mills and boons type romance trash/ sci-fi vampires and magic future books / criminal who-dunnits/ waking the dead type things) yet her knowledge of technical vocabulary is really strong. Although I must point out she did Latin for A level too.

    Personally, I dont read as much as I would like to/ think I should because I just dont have the time and reading books takes me ages, esepcially if they use language thats difficult to comprehend or are really tricky to 'get into' at the beginning.
    Another reason why kids probably dont read that often is because many school libraries have an awful selection of books. I tend to find the newer, bestseller books to me more to my taste but I could never find them at school and at my local library there's always a waiting list as long as my intestines - I ended up buying 'Two Caravans' by Marina Lewycka because it was quicker than waiting a whole year to get it out the library

    I think the thing about Hitler is partly true although it really depends on where you go to school. At my school there were NO Gcse or A level units on Nazi germany at all, the closest we got was the protestant reformation by Martin Luther!
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    Thomas Hardy may be more important, but that's irrelevent in a conversation on Dickens and his novels.

    Dicken's launched some of his most scathing attacks on the industrialist elite in novels such as 'Bleak House' and 'Hard Times' through characters such as Laurence Boythorn. Ever read 'Great Expectations'? Aware of Joe Gargery, the thoroughly pure of heart, decent and kind (and utterly working class) character, alongside Biddy the female equivalent. Remember Pip learning to shun the life of the London rich for the honest values of the working family? Obviously not..
    Oh dear god. You're one of those. :mad: A patronising patron of TSR. Wonderful.

    I happen to have done Great Expectations for A Level and can safely say that whilst Joe Gargery was not of the upper echelons of society he was an artisan and as such slightly removed from the characters who feature in genuine working-class novels. Dickens was writing from a middle-class perspective and whilst he was challenging Victorian attitudes he certainly was not viewing society through the eyes of those working-class characters. Indeed they stand almost as parodies of virtues.
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4548226.stm

    Just wondered what you all think about this....

    Personally I saw this a lot with my A-Level Lit class, I know people will think I'm just saying this to be a t***, I'm not, but I was the only person in my class to have read a pre-21st Century novel by choice. I understand that people have completely different tastes and that Dickens etc is certainly not for everybody, but in my class of nine, six of us are doing literature degrees!

    For example with our coursework we had to read 'Birdsong', not exactly a complicated novel but I suppose fairly 'lengthy'. The two other girls who were going to really strong universities (Newcastle and Nottingham) to do English didn't even read the entire book! They explained that they couldn't be bothered because it was too long...

    How are they going to cope with 'Paradise Lost'?! :confused:
    it's the same in our lit class :rolleyes:
    i think there is the total number of three of us that read books (any books at all) outside of class. there are 2 people out of a class of 5 that want to do lit, and one of those people only read the first ten letters in Color Purple, A. Walker, because they felt it was hard to understand and the book was too long :eek:. she also doesn't read any books at all (not even the exam set texts) outside of lessons. it's dreadful.
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    (Original post by Crosseyed And Painless)
    If you don't like the book why would or should you?
    Firstly, I never said that the people in my class didn't like the book. Doubtless, that was the case for some of them, but mostly I reckon it's laziness.

    (Original post by Crosseyed And Painless)
    Some of the classes I'd sit and read other books that I actually wanted to read.
    There seems to be a kind of pride in this statement. I just don't understand. This doesn't have any importance.

    (Original post by Crosseyed And Painless)
    I suppose I should have read Streetcar in hindsight, as it meant I never did that coursework, but not reading the other two didn't affect my grades.
    The Streetcar comment is telling... and as to the second statement: how could you know? Unless you have done the most which is required of you, how can you possibly tell if you have done your best?

    And to add to the original article, I would definitely include non-fiction in there as well. Obviously if the information is out of date the reasons for reading it are diminished, but factual books also offer great insight into whole societies.
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    Some people just don't like reading, others do. Others can be bothered, and some can't. All people are different, i guess that's just it.
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    I love reading. I hate it when people are like 'Reading is gay'..because they think they're 'gangstaaaaaa'. I'm gangsta AND I read. LOL Paulo Coelho ftw.
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    (Original post by oriel historian)
    Oh dear god. You're one of those. :mad: A patronising patron of TSR. Wonderful.

    I happen to have done Great Expectations for A Level and can safely say that whilst Joe Gargery was not of the upper echelons of society he was an artisan and as such slightly removed from the characters who feature in genuine working-class novels. Dickens was writing from a middle-class perspective and whilst he was challenging Victorian attitudes he certainly was not viewing society through the eyes of those working-class characters. Indeed they stand almost as parodies of virtues.
    OK first of all, your 'oh what a school boy....' line was immensely patronising which is why I replied in the way that I did. 'That view is a common misconception' would have sufficed but you had to add the element of condescension, so I returned the favour.

    Secondly, your correct Dickens wasn't viewing the world 'through' the eyes of these characters, but he uses them to challenge the views of Victorian society, which you ridiculed me over in your first post for suggesting.

    Thirdly the reason I thought you hadn't read 'Great Expectations' was because you plainly made the statement that Dickens didn't write about working class characters, which he plainly does in GE.

    If you don't patronise me, I won't patronise you.
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    (Original post by *pitseleh*)
    This sort of attitude really, really grates on me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adults enjoying reading books written for children, whether that's all they're into or whether, like me, they simply intersperse a heavier reading programme with kids' books.

    Whether you like it or not, there are millions of people, myself included, who have really enjoyed books such as the Harry Potter series, and I'm sure I can't be the only one who loves classical literature as well... so I'm not really sure why this assumption exists that enjoyment of those two sectors of literature is mutually exclusive. And why do you assume that a person who enjoys a particular novel rates it as "great" literature, rather than just appreciating it for what it is? You're talking about two utterly different genres, and they should be treated as such - they're just not comparable.
    :five: I completely agree with this. (I was just about to post the same thing, but you, being an English student, were far more eloquent than me. :p: ) I love Harry Potter (or come to think of it, other "children's" books like His Dark Materials), but I love reading the classics as well - they're not mutually exclusive, and I think it's just literary snobbery that people who enjoy popular culture like HP do not understand 'real' literature etc.

    In response to the OP - I think it's such a shame that a lot of my peers do not read any books. It's a personal feeling, but it's an aspiration for me to be well read; I'm almost ashamed of how little of the world's great classics I haven't yet read and I'm endeavoring to read as many as possible while I'm still young & impressionable and all that. I guess I can understand why some would find reading a chore, but they're really missing out...

    I also found the second part of the article interesting - I've always felt dissatisfied with the way the History courses are run at GCSE and A-level: there's far too much emphasis on depth, which compromises breadth and our general historical awareness (most of my peers wouldn't have a clue who Napoleon was, for example). As the article said our teachers all seem to love Nazi Germany and modern world history - at our school we did WWII in Year 9 - then Nazi Germany depth study in Year 10/11 - then if you did History, Nazi Germany again in Year 12. I just think it's ridiculous; at no time during secondary school did I do any sort of proper world history, nor did we do much pre-20th century history. I don't know, this depth-over-breadth attitude and early specialisation is one of the main characteristics of our education system and it can be a good thing, but I do think it narrows our minds and general intellectual knowledge at the same time.
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    OK first of all, your 'oh what a school boy....' line was immensely patronising which is why I replied in the way that I did. 'That view is a common misconception' would have sufficed but you had to add the element of condescension, so I returned the favour.

    Secondly, your correct Dickens wasn't viewing the world 'through' the eyes of these characters, but he uses them to challenge the views of Victorian society, which you ridiculed me over in your first post for suggesting.

    Thirdly the reason I thought you hadn't read 'Great Expectations' was because you plainly made the statement that Dickens didn't write about working class characters, which he plainly does in GE.

    If you don't patronise me, I won't patronise you.
    I shall quote from George Orwell, to whom I was referring:

    'To begin with he [Dickens] does not write about the proletariat, in which he merely resembles the overwhelming majority of novelists, past and present. If you look for the working classes in fiction, and especially English fiction, all you find is a hole.'

    [George Orwell, Essays, London: Penguin, 2000, p. 36]
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    Tbh my reading stamina is rubbish too, i really try...really try...but just seem to drift of elsewhere, no matter how interesting the book is
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    (Original post by oriel historian)
    I shall quote from George Orwell, to whom I was referring:

    'To begin with he [Dickens] does not write about the proletariat, in which he merely resembles the overwhelming majority of novelists, past and present. If you look for the working classes in fiction, and especially English fiction, all you find is a hole.'

    [George Orwell, Essays, London: Penguin, 2000, p. 36]
    You're right George, he doesn't write about the 'proletariat' that we (with benefit of historical hindsight) know, but he does write about the working class as they would have appeared to the Victorian Gentry. Of course Joe isn't a pillar of realism, but Joe is written in to push the point (albeit in a Romantic way) of reform in common social thought. Thus, the working class characters that Dickens presented to his own readers were not created to accurately reflect the lives of the real working class, they were tasteful platforms upon which a powerful message could be conveyed.

    Therefore, Orwell makes a correct point in saying that Dickens did not write about the 'proletariat', but those characters to the average Victorian reader would have been thoroughly, thoroughly working class.
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    Birdsong - urgh! Dont remind me - I thought my teacher had given me the wrong book during the first 100-150 pages :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by DeepStar)
    Birdsong - urgh! Dont remind me - I thought my teacher had given me the wrong book during the first 100-150 pages :rolleyes:
    Lol yes, it is heavy going in the way of expletives
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    You'll probably find that Uni will sort your stamina out
    After two years, that's a.:no:
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    Lol yes, it is heavy going in the way of expletives
    I think its fair to say I wasnt expecting it to be that heavy :p:
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    (Original post by DeepStar)
    I think its fair to say I wasnt expecting it to be that heavy :p:
    I don't know if you remember anything about it, but the scene with the BJ, in which Faulks writes that Isabelle 'catches' a certain something in a certain area, 'out of a sense of cleanliness', made me laugh so hard I was actually in pain...
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    (Original post by pipkinlove)
    You're right George, he doesn't write about the 'proletariat' that we (with benefit of historical hindsight) know, but he does write about the working class as they would have appeared to the Victorian Gentry. Of course Joe isn't a pillar of realism, but Joe is written in to push the point (albeit in a Romantic way) of reform in common social thought. Thus, the working class characters that Dickens presented to his own readers were not created to accurately reflect the lives of the real working class, they were tasteful platforms upon which a powerful message could be conveyed.

    Therefore, Orwell makes a correct point in saying that Dickens did not write about the 'proletariat', but those characters to the average Victorian reader would have been thoroughly, thoroughly working class.
    I think you've missed the point I was trying to make. No matter.
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    (Original post by oriel historian)
    I think you've missed the point I was trying to make. No matter.
    No you've misunderstood how Orwell's definition of 'working class' differs from the Victorian Gentry's definition of 'working class'.

    But I could not be happier that this sub-debate is ending
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    (Original post by *pitseleh*)
    This sort of attitude really, really grates on me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adults enjoying reading books written for children, whether that's all they're into or whether, like me, they simply intersperse a heavier reading programme with kids' books.

    Whether you like it or not, there are millions of people, myself included, who have really enjoyed books such as the Harry Potter series, and I'm sure I can't be the only one who loves classical literature as well... so I'm not really sure why this assumption exists that enjoyment of those two sectors of literature is mutually exclusive. And why do you assume that a person who enjoys a particular novel rates it as "great" literature, rather than just appreciating it for what it is? You're talking about two utterly different genres, and they should be treated as such - they're just not comparable.
    Sorry, but if you read the Harry Potter books as an adult and 'enjoyed' (how you managed to enjoy that mental abortion I don't know) them, you are completely dead on the inside and nothing can save you.

    Edit: Harry Potter is the final nail in the coffin of western civilisation.
 
 
 
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