Lit Crit was re More than you ever wanted to know was re Answers from Diana

Ven ven at
Wed Jun 6 21:29:52 EDT 2001

Philip wrote
> PS It was a serious question, "What is Lit Crit?"!  And no-one has
> attempted to answer it except Gill's little comment about deconstructing
> clocks...

It was a rather good little comment I thought. However I sort of 
think the best works are organic rather than mechanical -- so you 
couldn't actually put them together again. Thusthe ananlysis has to 
be one of observation only, trying to catch the elusive essenvce of 
the beast.  To put it another way the Heisenberg uncertainty 
principle operates -- it's not possible to study everything 
simultaneously, you either know where a character is or how
fast they're going. (Oh dear I think I know what I mean but I can't 
tell if I've got it across, this must be this evening's last reply).

> Perhaps I need to try again? For me it's about reading and exploring my own
> reactions to what I have read, looking closely at the way in which something
> is put together so I appreciate it more. Knowing that the onomatopoeia is
> one of the things that makes Owen's poem "Dulce et Decorum est" so powerful
> doesn't hurt, and makes me realise the sheer craftsmanship that went into
> the writing of it. Working out why I find a reading experience intensely
> powerful doesn't dilute the experience, but allows me to appreciate it more.
> Critical Analysis, as performed at A Level can be a very artificial
> exercise - but reading about how writers work and focussing closely on how
> individual groups of words are put together can be immensely rewarding.

One of my friends horrified my with her opinion that for any' A' level 
question there were 20 points you had to get in your essay, worth 
5 % of the marks each so doing well was just a question of 
learning the right answers to as many of the standard questions as 
possible. I'd gone about it believing they wanted to see an essay 
that answered the question with reference to the text........ As an 
English teacher Gill, can you tell me do the 20 points really exist? 


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