Rowling and elitists

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Wed Oct 29 19:41:02 EST 2003


Melissa kindly offered (and we so appreciate it):

>I thought I'd share some of this individual's pronouncements on the subject
>of what is good.  He is getting very frustrated because he thinks no one
>understands what he's saying; he fails to realize that we don't AGREE with
>what he's saying.  Gotta love those insecure academics.  (I really have no
>idea what he does for a living.  For all I know he is an engineer with
>delusions of grandeur.)

Clearly this is what he is, and as I predicted, his writing is full of 
stylistic errors.

>"To begin with, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a book that could
>easily be 300 pages shorter. Though it can hardly be called dense, or
>even long.

Okay, so this second sentence here is a fragment, because it is a 
subordinate clause with no main clause.

>There's a lot of air in them there pages, which is maybe why
>they're so easy to turn. If the reader is a car, then Rowling has
>written an interstate.

Ignoring the "them there"; the second sentence here has faulty parallelism. 
"If a reader is a car, then Rowling's book is an interstate" would be 
stylistically more correct.

>"That I don't hold against her (though she leans over and grabs hold of
>the wheel too many times).

Comma missing after "That".

>What bothers me about Harry Potter IV is,
>well, like I said, too many words that throw slop and play into what
>should be a tight story line; too many adverbs and participle phrases
>and parentheticals that don't belong in even pedestrian prose.

Well, Mr Prof gave a good example of that in the previous sentence.

>Like: "a
>very heavy load of homework." There are two unnecessary words in that
>phrase, maybe three. And: "very slowly and very carefully." How much
>slower than slowly is "very slowly"? And can you do something very
>slowly and "not carefully"?

In the second example, Rowling is using a rhetorical device called 
parallelism, which your writer has, above, demonstrated that he doesn't 
understand.

I don't disagree in principle that Rowling uses a lot of adjectives. It 
defines her style. It is one of the things that makes her readable for 
children. She doesn't use a lot of metaphorical description (ie the road is 
a snake); instead, she relies on loading up adjectives to give a 
descriptive picture (the road was long, windy and twisty). For the majority 
of her young readers, who may not understand figurative languageu, this is 
actually a good stylistic choice, not a mistake.

Typical of an arrogant guy with a limited amount of expertise to pick on 
the obvious "mistake", and not interrogate the purpose behind it.

Robyn 
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