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Yours truly, literature, and leading a discussion. 
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Post Yours truly, literature, and leading a discussion.
(If you are short of time, skip to postings 3 or 4.)

Those among you who studied literature at university, as I did, in the 1980's , may have learnt what I did: one of the golden rules was that you never, ever discussed characters from literature as if they were actual human beings (to be brought to the level of a TV serial, or psychoanalysed at will, as in , for Hamlet:

- Does Hamlet love Ophelia


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Last edited by Ophelia on Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:12 am
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Ophelia wrote:
...one of the golden rules was that you never, ever discussed characters from literature as if they were actual human beings...


I don't really remember there being any hard and fast rules in my literature classes. Outside of the instructors expecting me to be able to support, directly from the text, whatever argument I was making, I don't think they much cared how I approached the work. I can't say I did a lot of exploration of specific characters while in school, but I think that was an effect of me being more of a theme person than feeling discouraged from doing so by my instructors.

I did do one character study for a theater paper; and, if I do say so myself, it was probably one of my most innovative papers while in school. But, I also felt freer to experiment with textual exploration and writing in my theater classes, because they had much lower expectations than my lit classes.



Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:31 pm
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Post Re: I- Yours truly, literature, and leading a discussion.
[quote="Ophelia"](If you are short of time, skip to postings 3 or 4.)

Those among you who studied literature at university, as I did, in the 1980's , may have learnt what I did: one of the golden rules was that you never, ever discussed characters from literature as if they were actual human beings (to be brought to the level of a TV serial, or psychoanalysed at will) as in , for Hamlet:

- Does Hamlet love Ophelia


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Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:11 pm
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Quote:
Those among you who studied literature at university, as I did, in the 1980's , may have learnt what I did: one of the golden rules was that you never, ever discussed characters from literature as if they were actual human beings (to be brought to the level of a TV serial, or psychoanalysed at will


Quote:
For the record, I still firmly believe in that rule in the context of university studies.


why's that?[/quote]



Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:09 am
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Hello Levenade,

It's a complex question.

The idea was that the best entry into literature was style (images being the easiest one), themes, construction, rather than characters.
One advantage for, say, first year college students, is that it made people concentrate on what is technical and requires a good knowledge of the text.

In an exam paper, it is very difficult to write about those if your knowledge of the play or novel is sketchy. Yet many beginners would feel they could write something about the characters, but the question would be: is this literary analysis?

Characters in a novel or a play are not to be taken for real people.
I think it's particularly clear if you think of the classics: King Lear is much more than a king or a man seen in his relationship with his daughters. You learn about what he represents through his interactions with other characters but also from the imagery and music in the verses he says.

Or for a novel, many characters in literature were not people but types, for example, in Thackeray's novel Barry Lyndon, the rogue.



Levenade, are you thinking of staying with Booktalk?
Would you like to write an introduction?


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Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:37 am
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that makes sense. thanks Ophelia.

yes, i think i will be dropping by every now and then =]



Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:07 am
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Post Whatever turns your crank . . .
Why not discuss the characters?

But I can understand there having been a rule about it though - we once discussed a book by Lewis Carroll at the library book discussion group - it was Alice in Wonderland (a wierd story in itself).

One of the women went on and on and on about Lewis Carroll himself - she had heard at another discussion group (online, I believe) that he was a pedophile.

For heavens' sake! I didn't wanna' know that!

Whether it's true or not, doesn't interest me, but this is a good example of how dirty gossip gets started - somebody says it, then somebody passes it on - next thing you know it's true!

-------------------------

The only real thing I wonder about the author of 'Thousand Suns' is this - is he writing the experience of these women in such a sensational way 'cause he knows it's being read in America? Does he think that's what Americans and Canadians want to read?

That isn't my opinion, btw - I don't think he has that in mind.

But it was discussed on another site - Book Buzz, I think.

Does anybody else have that opinion?

---------------------------

Ophelia - you're the forum leader - you moderate in whatever manner you think is appropriate.



Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:28 pm
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Wildcitywoman wrote:

Quote:
The only real thing I wonder about the author of 'Thousand Suns' is this - is he writing the experience of these women in such a sensational way 'cause he knows it's being read in America? Does he think that's what Americans and Canadians want to read?

That isn't my opinion, btw - I don't think he has that in mind.

But it was discussed on another site - Book Buzz, I think.

Does anybody else have that opinion?


It's a good question. The writer is an American whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan, so he writes with a western audience in mind (his books are known in France as well). Of course he knows that there is an audience for such stories in the west, and the view of an immigrant who had to leave his motherland in a civil war situation is not the same as that of somebody who still lives there.
I do not know whether such a book could have been written by somebody who had not lived in the west for quite a while, but I doubt it.

Yet I don't think Khaled Hosseini wrote his novels in order to pander to the tastes of the west (in case this is what is meant but the original question asked at bookbuzz) about reading shocking stories about veiled Muslim women.

I've read interviews of Khaled Hosseini and he comes across as an interesting mind and somebody who genuinely loves Afghanistan and its people, and although Splendid Suns is often realistic I never felt it was written in a sensational fashion.


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Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:21 pm
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Post Other novels?
Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner - has he written other novels besides them?



Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:14 pm
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Not that I know of.
By the way, I found The Kite Runner the better of the two novels by far.


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Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:24 pm
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Post I agree . . .
The book didn't really pick up for me till I was about 1/4 the way through - I was thinking Thousand Suns was better - but now that I've gone all the way to the end of Kite Runner, I agree - it's the best.

I think what threw me in KR was that it was about the men - I was expecting it to be about the women again. Didn't think I was going to identify with the men.

I was so happy with the ending of Kite Runner - I will shut up about that, for the benefit of those who haven't started/finished it yet.



Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:39 pm
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