Saturday, March 28, 2009

Re Joyce by Anthony Burgess and analyzing literature

This book was suggested by my book of the day calendar. I thought, why not? I like Anthony burgess and have never read Joyce, this might inspire me. Well, I read over 125 pages and gave up. Oh, it was written well, but my God! The detail of analysis of each of Joyce's works was like the worst of High School and College English.

I mean, I understand the elements of a story like symbolism, metaphors, similies and what not are important in why people connect. But guess what? I dont care. And probably most people who are not English teachers or writers dont care either. Either they enjoy the story or they dont. They dont care why they enjoy it or not. They just are concerned about the experience itself. I also think this is why the majority of Americans never read a book again after graduation. They are not allowed to just enjoy brilliant stories. They have to pick them to pieces and worry about whether they are getting all the metaphors right or what not. Blah blah, it is work not fun.

I would have qualified for AP English in my High School but opted not to even try because I heard they analyzed tons of poetry to the extreme and it seemed horrible to me. And I lucked out because in my English class I did take, I was exposed to Childhood's End and Brave NEw World and the genre of SCIFI was opened for me. Yay! So, my teacher came to first period reeking of booze and marlboro reds. I was reading. And enjoying it. I answered questions on qiuizzes and tests that were mostly regarding plot points and character traits. It was fun. I finished books early took all the quizzes and then read the other selections for the unit (there were always 5 choices in a unit) read them and took those quizzes too. Not for credit but for fun. Well that and I had time to kill because the rest of the class were still reading their one book for the unit. But I remember that class fondly. The other English classes I took? Not so much...

Maybe teachers need to do BOTH instead of just anaylizing. Maybe they need to understand how offsetting it can be. I dont know, but I do know. I could not finish this book because the minutia (sp?) made me HATE it.

3 comments:

Mare said...

I fully agree with you. I don't care why I enjoy a book and to have it torn to tiny bits begins to make it work in my mind. I wanted to be an English major so I concentrated on English classes in high school, and while I remember some authors fondly, I not revisited any of them since. It's a shame and I may have to go back to try some...it's been long enough maybe I can leave all of the disection behind.

Glenda said...

I'm with both of you. I want to read for enjoyment. I'll discuss issues and so forth, possibly delve into analyzing in discussion groups. But all loose and informal. I do enjoy pondering on my own at times but nobody is forcing it on me. It's just how my mind runs sometimes.

Mary Welk said...

I can still remember having to read Thomas Hardy in high school. Talk about bleak, somber, depressing literature! We analyzed that book to death, and I still couldn't find one good thing to say about it. I agree with all that's been said here. Good writers can slip those metaphors, etc. into a story and you won't be thinking, "Oh! There's a metaphor!". Instead, you'll be thinking, "I really like the way this author tells a story." I agree there's an art to good storytelling, but need we pick it apart to enjoy a book? I don't think so. I read for enjoyment, and I think most other people do, too. And I agree that over analyzing books in school is what probably turns most teens off to reading after graduation. They just don't see it as fun or exciting.