Kids, reading, and "good" lit...

McMullin, Elise mcmullea at
Fri Aug 13 11:27:17 EDT 1999

>On 08/12/99 18:06:50 Melissa wrote:
>>I know people have this experience all the time, but I don't understand
>>it--since dissecting a novel has always *added* to my enjoyment of it.  Oh
>>well, everyone's different I suppose.  But you're right, it's easy to kill
>>someone's taste for reading a book by making it required reading, huh?

Mary Ann replied:
>"I think it depends on the tools used in the dissection. Some of them are
>awkward or ill-suited to the anatomy under consideration. I recall being
>asked to search for examples of various sorts of trope in _Great
Expectations_. Pointless, in my view."

Hee hee - tropes!  Haven't heard that word in ages!  I had an 18th
century novel prof who had this disdainful-ick reaction to J. Austen.
He seemed to consider her a tool of the capitalist patriarchy or
something. He liked Moll Flanders much better - had us go over every
monetary transaction in great detail.  The main thing I took away from
that class was that it's easy enough to be a marxist feminist literary
critic when you are a tenured professor.  It's so highly unlikely anyone
will tell you to put your money where your mouth is.
 I also thought it was unfair to ravage the assumptions someone was
brave enough to lay out in an undefended story, while the critic never
(in my undergrad experience) evenhandedly calls their own assumptions in
to question. It seemed like they ripped apart the belief systems
underlying he work in question, but held their own too precious and
tender to submit to the same treatment.  Heavy irony that the profs who
seemed so outraged by every injustice used their learning to treat their
topic in what looked a corrupt fashion and felt justified.
The other thing I took away from it was - that it seemed that really
*liking* a book was a detriment to examining it.  But actually I think
you can examine a book in more compassionate light by considering all
>the good things about it - which is more fun and enjoyable anyway!
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