a defense, of sorts, of HP

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Sun Feb 22 21:23:39 EST 2004


>Sally asked:  does this mean that plotting skill is totally unimportant
>to the majority of readers?

>A good question.  I don't think that it is that plot is totally
>unimportant to the readers I work with.  I think that plot is (as you
>point out) secondary to style and (for my readers) character.  They get
>caught up in the world and in the trials and tribulations of the
>characters and don't notice the plot holes.  And, as Gili pointed out,
>the plots are fast-paced and suspenseful, which can sort of make the
>reader dash over the holes without falling in.  That was my experience,
>too, which is probably why I enjoy the books so much and can still enjoy
>them.  I don't see the plot holes if I am focusing hard enough on each
>little set piece, which is enjoyable as itself.

I find that I spend the first few weeks of lit courses like "Novel and 
Short Story" harping at students to let go of plot and start talking about 
other things like characters, theme, language, etc. Plots are possibly the 
easiest or most familiar things for students to latch on to when they start 
discussion. So I can see why a faulty plot might generate some interesting 
teachable moments.

I tend to take a different approach to the same problem; I deliberately 
start with stories that have little in the way of plot. (E.g. "Araby" -- 
boy has crush on girl and ends up not doing anything about it.) In this 
case, here we are with 75 minutes to fill and plot has taken 2 of those 
minutes, so  they have to find something else to talk about.

Robyn 
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