Teaching Dark Lord part 2

deborah deborah at suberic.net
Fri May 17 15:14:33 EDT 2002


On Fri, 17 May 2002, jackie e stallcup wrote:
|Thinking about this a bit further though... maybe I could say that there
|is a sense of complacency in that some of them have fairly conventional
|ideas about what constitutes good or bad literature (and adolescent
|literature in conventional terms is usually immediately suspect).  But
|we've worked through a lot of that; it's an attitude that I get them to
|question within the first two weeks of class.  We also question a lot of
|the assumptions that adults hold about children and teens.  If anyone is
|interested in the theoretical reading that we do, I can send you some
|references.

One of the assumptions that Dark Lord challenges (as does Deep
Secret, and YotG) is the question of implied reader.  As readers,
we're used to recognizing the age of the implied reader of a
text.  For example, a book with an adolescent protagonist, and no
narrative tone of nostalgia or had-I-but-known often implies a
young reader.

DLoD is a very strange book in that it has a fully realized
adolescent hero who is written just as an adolescent hero should
be  -- and yet it also has a fully realised adult hero.  I
suspect that some of the students' discomfort with Derk's faults
is that our preconceptions lead us to think that it is solely
Blade's book.  So Derk should be acting in the ways we've come to
expect of a father in an adolescent's novel, shouldn't he?
But DWJ is'nt writing in a strictly defined genre anymore.  Thus
Derk's failings as a man are unexpected in a genre in which we'd
be more likely to expect his failings as a father.

My $0.02

-deborah
deborah at suberic.net
--
I never metadiscourse I didn't like.

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