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Thread: Dickens and school

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Dickens and school

    Do you think schools do Dickens many favours by using his books so much in English Literature classes? I remember doing bits of A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations at school. We never did the whole book, just sections. Maybe we were supposed to read the rest for homework. My impression of Dickens' work back then was that it was turgid, wordy, dense, difficult to read and old fashioned. It put me off Dickens for about thirty years before deciding to give him another chance on his 200th anniversary. When I read some of the comments by school pupils, I suspect he is having the same effect on them.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Well, I think, if you are going to do A Christmas Carol, you can better do the whole of it. If you can't wait for your pupils to finish Great Expectations (you are after all limited in the number of books you can do), then don't do it and choose something shorter.

    Wordy, dense, difficult to read and old-fashioned...

    Can I be very harsh here and very frank? Without really wanting to be arrogant, if you are a native speaker then you should be able to read Dickens as if it were something contemporary. To me as a non-native, it is so easy I don't even have to think. I am not kidding if I say that I find Dickens in English easier than Saramago in Dutch. Dickens is reading the newspaper. Part of the reason why I don't enjoy him. I find him so easy, also in terms of characterisation, that he is not worth reading.
    Where there are certain clues in 19th century lit (particularly Victorian) in terms of ugly = bad character, hooked nose = very selfish character, blue-eyed + blonde = good and honest character, dark character = slightly sinister, poss. bad character (curly hair is a no-no), Dickens takes it too far. I find he is simplistic. I suppose that is part of his charm everyone can understand him, also children of like 8 years old.
    However, wordy, difficult to read and dense? Any reader who says that has not tried anything harder than Dickens and that's sad.

    Old-fashioned... he can be called that, but then you don't have to read 19th century and expect that you're going to get a model of respect for women, no class-divide and cars let's say.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

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    Outlook Gloomy Neely's Avatar
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    Ha, ha. This is the English education system that Kev is talking about here Kiki, be kind. This is the same education system that has students studying about one novel, two at the most, in their GCSEs (14-16) and about one play, and that is pushing it, massively so.

    However, I'm not intending to pick on schooling or teenagers here because I do think that Dickens would be considered a very hard read for the majority of native UK speakers - certainly for those people who are occasional readers or holiday readers. "Wordy, dense, difficult to read and old-fashioned" would certainly be accurate crimes that Dickens commits in that regard.

    From my teaching experience I can tell you that there is no hope in hell of ever getting close to reading the likes of Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities, not a prayer of getting close to it, even an extract of 6/7 pages would be too much to handle, I'm serious. (Damn I said I wouldn't go for the school thing, never mind.)

    I was teaching a top set class last week and just annotating two poems was enough to bring the boredom home to roost. I tried my best not be dull and even waved my arms a little here and there to add interest, but by the end of it I could see eyes glazing over and I had to insert video clips to stop the riots setting in (though that didn't really help). Oh boy we are so out of whack it is unbelievable, unbelievable, fecking unbelievable.

    Children of 8 years old? The vast majority of 18 year olds in this country could not tackle Dickens, 28 year olds even. Anyone. Maybe 1% at the most. This is the reality I'm afraid.
    Last edited by Neely; 05-05-2012 at 07:53 PM.

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    Yeah . . . but, come one, who want to annotate a poem? That's boring as hell.

    I've read Joyce, Faulkner, McCarthy and Pynchon, and I still Dickens a bit hard at times. The language is old, the sentences are long, the descriptions extensive, the names of characters often many--add all that up and you can have an exhausting read if your mind isn't into it fully. It's kind of ridiculous to say you should be able to read Dickens as if it is contemporary . . . because it most definitely is not contemporary; you have to go into a different reading mode. It's impossible not to.

    I'm not saying it's so hard to read any person literate in English won't be able to, I'm just saying it can be hard for someone not into literature. It's not like picking up a Stephen King book.

    I think we sometimes forget that literature is easy for us, the members of LitNet. We love it; it comes naturally for us. We often get in this mindset that since we can do it, everyone else should be able to, and everyone's mind doesn't work the same way. I'm sure on some math forum people will say, "Well, anyone past grade five should have no trouble doing algebra," and that's not the case either. Just because someone has trouble with Dickens, or literature in general, doesn't make that person dumb.

    Personally, I'd never want to teach Dickens. He's just going to bore kids to tears. There are more interesting (as in interesting for kids) books one can teach from that era.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Oh, sorry, sorry. I didn't mean to be rude... I gues it was a bit late last night. I somehow thought it was more about 'Am I normal for thinking that Dickens is reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally hard?'

    If we are going to start about education systems again... and we said we wouldn't but we have (gna gna), my observations about that are that over the Channel, they push children too hard. No, I don't mean that in terms of amount, but in terms of what they give them to read. Until 16-17, I never even touched a grown novel. Before it was all youth 'lit'. It bored me to tears, but it made the threshold taken at the right time and then by simple novels a lot easier or most. Those who were interested could consult the school library run by a very old nun who sometimes gave good advice.
    Dickens, although his language is simple (ok, his sentences might be a bit long, but his punctuation is quite good, so commas really should be full stops), does require context. As your students have not learned anything worthwhile on Victorian society (according to that survey recently) it is going to be difficult to explain why Scrooge should be giving money to the poor. Or what the deal is with workhouses. Or the debtors' prison. What this procedure in Bleak House is about. Indeed, even what the hell A Tale of Two Cities is about. They don't even know that, I am told.
    I think Dickens's language is the least of your worries. I am sure that Great Exectations would induce questions as to the idea why Pip can't possibly marry Arabella/Isabella (I forgot her name now...) and why Pip's friend can't marry his wife unless he's got an investment.
    Dickens is so Victorian that people need context, ever so small, otherwise they get lost, comparable to the Circumlocution Office.

    I can imagine that annotating a poem (or two ) is pushing it below 16-17. Doing Shakespeare at 11 or something, even if it is a comedy is not going to interest you. Give them something that is down to their level.
    We did poetry for one whole year from 16-17 for Dutch classes (mother tongue). It did not so much bore us to tears. Maybe it wasn't really really deep, but a whole year is still considerable. And that went from medieval (motives, themes, norms) to contemporary, like the late 1800s and the fifties as well as the seventies, I believe.
    Before that, we focussed on grammar, spelling, sentence structure, one or two books a year we had to read and make a report about. One we did an extended session about, dealing with the spectacular floods in 1951/2 in the Netherlands (the UK also got some of that) which killed many people and triggered the Rhine-Delta works in Zeeland still there now. That was a youth novel though. We would never have dreamed of doing anything grown up, even in our mother tongue, at the age of 14. I think in French we did Molière's Imaginary Patient (?) at 15.
    I think the move to thinking about 'what a writer wishes to say' came at 15-16, being introduced to several types of stories (legends, sagas, fairytales, etc.) and then moving onto short stories which were mostly contemporary.

    Now it hits me though... By the time we started doing poetry, in history classes we had covered history up until the middle ages and the age of trade in the 17th and 18th century. The Enlightenment/French Revolution and everything after that came in the last two years of education. So, by the time we did poetry influenced by the Enlightenment, we had passed that bit in history class (1st trimester) and the teacher could draw on that. And we would already have covered a complete though simplistic overview of history in the last two years of primary school. So rich noble people getting killed in the French Revolution and Napoleon was not a surprise.
    Either we personally were very disciplined or the system was better designed.

    Although we were told in confidence after we graduated that we were a horrid class if we were bored, but great to work with if we enjoyed the class. I think we trained up at least three teachers who started and went with us three or two years (one of them the history teacher, bless her). You see, they could tell when their class was sh*te because we bl*dy well let them know, but in the end, they looked forward to visiting us. aah

    I heard from grammar school age people (long ago) that they used to read Dickens when they were children of about 8. Although reading skills have dramatically gone down, so that probably no longer applies.
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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandis View Post
    I've read Joyce, Faulkner, McCarthy and Pynchon, and I still Dickens a bit hard at times. The language is old, the sentences are long, the descriptions extensive, the names of characters often many--add all that up and you can have an exhausting read if your mind isn't into it fully. It's kind of ridiculous to say you should be able to read Dickens as if it is contemporary . . . because it most definitely is not contemporary; you have to go into a different reading mode. It's impossible not to.

    I'm not saying it's so hard to read any person literate in English won't be able to, I'm just saying it can be hard for someone not into literature. It's not like picking up a Stephen King book.
    I must have been lucky in my escapades with Dickens then, because I could not for the life of me find anything difficult in (the parts of) his work I have read.
    Ok, sentences are long, but they're not Dumas's with lots of hyphens, semi-colons, bits between commas and things like that. All I have read is pretty much slightly old-fashioned newspaper style writing. It is not taxing on the brain, the vocab is straightforward (he does not use fancy words, etc.). I am not kidding you if I say that Evelyn Waugh was more difficult even though he was slightly more contemporary.

    I grant you it is not like a Stephen King book or a Dan Brown (I do know how he writes), but you can't say Dickens is hard. If people find that hard then surely they would find The Times hard to read? (which they probably do then).

    I agree that there is far more interesting stuff to teach than Dickens, though.
    Last edited by kiki1982; 05-06-2012 at 05:55 AM.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I agree that the language of Dickens is not that hard. I was expecting something a lot harder when I read Great Expectations recently. In the first few chapters I came across the word 'rimy', which basically means frosty. Then a bit later, I came across the word 'sanguinary', which I know the meaning of now, though probably I didn't when I was fifteen. Otherwise, there was little I did not understand (except the occasional passage that I felt I could safely ignore).

    I had a similar surprise when I attempted Pride & Prejudice - no problem understanding it at all. I started Frankenstein about ten years ago and found it turgid, but I suspect that was Percy Shelley's editing of his wife's work. (Actually, come to think of it, I found Bram Stoker a bit heavy going).

    There are much harder, or at least just as hard modern works of literature as Dickens.

    I am currently trying to work through a sci-fi book and I hardly understand a word.
    Last edited by kev67; 05-07-2012 at 01:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    I must have been lucky in my escapades with Dickens then, because I could not for the life of me find anything difficult in (the parts of) his work I have read.
    Ok, sentences are long, but they're not Dumas's with lots of hyphens, semi-colons, bits between commas and things like that. All I have read is pretty much slightly old-fashioned newspaper style writing. It is not taxing on the brain, the vocab is straightforward (he does not use fancy words, etc.). I am not kidding you if I say that Evelyn Waugh was more difficult even though he was slightly more contemporary.

    I grant you it is not like a Stephen King book or a Dan Brown (I do know how he writes), but you can't say Dickens is hard. If people find that hard then surely they would find The Times hard to read? (which they probably do then).

    I agree that there is far more interesting stuff to teach than Dickens, though.
    When did you first read Dickens?

    Of course I can say it's hard. Saying it's like reading a newspaper is totally disingenuous because it simply isn't (likes saying it's just like reading something contemporary). We're talking about two completely different modes of writing, and two completely different modes of reading. You read a newspaper like you read a text book: to get information. You're not keeping track of characters or plots or imagery (at least not in the way you do with literatue), and the longest newspaper article isn't as long as some of the shortest short stories. I made the dichotomy of how some people just don't have minds that are good for reading literature but are good for other things--these same people probably have little difficulty reading newspapers and textbooks, because they're just reading to gain info.

    Saying Dickens is hard for some people (which is what I've been saying), and that it is doesn't mean those people are stupid (which is what I've been saying) is not at all an unrealistic statement. Plus, it's silly for us, as lovers of literature, to think, "Well, it wasn't hard for me, so it shouldn't be hard for anyone else." By that thinking, since I'm good at video games, everyone else shouldn't have a problem with them either.

    Hopefully I won't have to rehash these points.

    Plus, different books are going to be difficult for different reasons (just look at what kev said about sci-fi, something I never have a problem with), and I don't think Dickens's difficulty lies within his vocabulary. It lies in the syntax (I don't care what anyone says, when you're reading Dickens, it sounds old, it's impossible for it to sound otherwise because it's old), the length, what is for many people the uninteresting plots. The difficulty for most people will be staying on point. Teach any high school class and one of the biggest problems will say they have with reading is that they zone out--they're reading the material, but they're not even paying attention to it. I'm sure we've all done this at some point.

    And I hope no one thinks I've been or am being rude; I've not thought that about anyone here.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    The very first time I read Dickens was in my third year of English (2 hours English course as a foreign language a week) for Christmas or thereabouts. I was terrible at English (I think my teacher would be pretty impressed now), but apart from some digressions (as he does) I could pretty much understand what it said. We hadn't had too much class in English, nor had we focussed too much on strange vocab.

    Let me clarify that point about the newspaper as somehow I think I didn't make myself clear (it was too late, anyway ): I was merely referring to the language, not to the vast amaunt of characters. Of course you need a longer concentration span to read a novel compared to a newspaper article, but I find Dickens's language comparable to reading a slightly old-fashioned newspaper article. Seriously, if I read excerpts from Dickens (you make me want to attempt it again now ) there is nothing that strikes me as particularly difficult.
    You are talking about native speakers here. That they find Shakespeare challenging, I can understand (it is harder than Dutch of the same period), but non-fancy 19th century normal English, not of the likes of Hardy, is not challenging, it's maybe weird, at best. They are supposed to know their own language. If they find Dickens challenging then there is a serious issue.

    It must be my own warped view then.

    Rimy doesn't strike as particularly unusual, but that's probably because my mother tongue has a word that is essentially the same 'rijm' for the stuff you find on the edge of leaves on a frosty morning.

    OF course, there are more interesting things to read than Dickens with his complicated and coincidental plots (part of the reason why I don't like him).
    If was just comparing maybe my own program to the English-speaking one. I don't think there was ever anyone who complained about the length of sentences or the difficulty of vocab. Admittedly I was in a high school equivalent thing (prep or uni), but I think if anyone complained it was about the excerpts from Romeo and Juliet we read in the last year after 5 years of English as a foreign language, the last two of which 3 hours per week or the wierd play of Ionesco for French.

    It just amazes me.
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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandis View Post
    Personally, I'd never want to teach Dickens. He's just going to bore kids to tears. There are more interesting (as in interesting for kids) books one can teach from that era.
    Which books are these?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    Ha, ha. This is the English education system that Kev is talking about here Kiki, be kind. This is the same education system that has students studying about one novel, two at the most, in their GCSEs (14-16) and about one play, and that is pushing it, massively so.

    However, I'm not intending to pick on schooling or teenagers here because I do think that Dickens would be considered a very hard read for the majority of native UK speakers - certainly for those people who are occasional readers or holiday readers. "Wordy, dense, difficult to read and old-fashioned" would certainly be accurate crimes that Dickens commits in that regard.

    From my teaching experience I can tell you that there is no hope in hell of ever getting close to reading the likes of Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities, not a prayer of getting close to it, even an extract of 6/7 pages would be too much to handle, I'm serious. (Damn I said I wouldn't go for the school thing, never mind.)

    I was teaching a top set class last week and just annotating two poems was enough to bring the boredom home to roost. I tried my best not be dull and even waved my arms a little here and there to add interest, but by the end of it I could see eyes glazing over and I had to insert video clips to stop the riots setting in (though that didn't really help). Oh boy we are so out of whack it is unbelievable, unbelievable, fecking unbelievable.

    Children of 8 years old? The vast majority of 18 year olds in this country could not tackle Dickens, 28 year olds even. Anyone. Maybe 1% at the most. This is the reality I'm afraid.
    This is slightly surprising. I don't know what the British GCSE (exam for 16-year-olds) syllabus for English Literature is these days, but the BBC GCSE Bitesize web page lists one Dickens novel, Great Expectations, as one of the study books. The others are Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird and Heroes.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Wow, we did Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm in our fourth year of EFL, not a main subject.

    Not in great detail, though, but still the communist spin on Animal Farm with excerpts. As well as excerpts from Lord of the Flies exploring the ideas of how a society without leaders (re-)develops.
    The year after we read Brave New World (the teacher wasn't interested in a large book, I'm afraid). She mainly worked with Time magazine.

    Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice I think are bad choices. Jane Eyre is simple to analyse (some of the things are quite obvious, although you need some context for them; she even puts her quotes in speech marks ) and girls go mad for it, but boys at that age certainly not. I mean, it's your quintessential great romantic story which boys of 15 run away from screaming their head off. You are working with people who are not emotionally settled yet, boys even less so than girls. So discussing human feelings, which are a main subject in any Bildungsroman is going to be difficult.
    Pride and Prejudice is girly anyway and it requires a lot of context to be really funny. The more you know, the funnier it gets, but a modern person doesn't understand the fun most of the time (apart from the purely human part, but that's too obvious). I know there are many men who appreciate it too, but they are fully grown, mostly know more about the history of it, the genre, Austen's place in the development of the novel in itself.

    More interesting 19th century books...

    Wuthering Heights I think would be interesting. You have passion, you have revenge (that's always good to discuss), you have your Gothic stuff you want. And it reads like nothing, partly because it is so strange you want to know more.

    A Hardy comes to mind. But in view of Dickens being difficult, he strikes me as particularly undoable at some points.

    For Gothic I would rather take something that is not in letters (the excerpts of Frankenstein I have read were not really appealing: too long, boring, and uninteresting; vocab was not too bad). Maybe real original Gothic stuff is too difficult though...
    Arthur Conan Doyle must have written some stories for Sherlock Holmes with a Gothic influence, apart from The Hound of the Baskervilles.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    Wow, we did Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm in our fourth year of EFL, not a main subject.

    Not in great detail, though, but still the communist spin on Animal Farm with excerpts. As well as excerpts from Lord of the Flies exploring the ideas of how a society without leaders (re-)develops.
    The year after we read Brave New World (the teacher wasn't interested in a large book, I'm afraid). She mainly worked with Time magazine.

    Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice I think are bad choices. Jane Eyre is simple to analyse (some of the things are quite obvious, although you need some context for them; she even puts her quotes in speech marks ) and girls go mad for it, but boys at that age certainly not. I mean, it's your quintessential great romantic story which boys of 15 run away from screaming their head off. You are working with people who are not emotionally settled yet, boys even less so than girls. So discussing human feelings, which are a main subject in any Bildungsroman is going to be difficult.
    Pride and Prejudice is girly anyway and it requires a lot of context to be really funny. The more you know, the funnier it gets, but a modern person doesn't understand the fun most of the time (apart from the purely human part, but that's too obvious). I know there are many men who appreciate it too, but they are fully grown, mostly know more about the history of it, the genre, Austen's place in the development of the novel in itself.
    I agree Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are bad choices to teach to fifteen-year-old boys. Many boys at that age are concerned about their masculinity; romantic fiction is strictly for girls. That would put Wuthering Heights out too.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    More interesting 19th century books...

    Wuthering Heights I think would be interesting. You have passion, you have revenge (that's always good to discuss), you have your Gothic stuff you want. And it reads like nothing, partly because it is so strange you want to know more.

    A Hardy comes to mind. But in view of Dickens being difficult, he strikes me as particularly undoable at some points.

    For Gothic I would rather take something that is not in letters (the excerpts of Frankenstein I have read were not really appealing: too long, boring, and uninteresting; vocab was not too bad). Maybe real original Gothic stuff is too difficult though...
    Arthur Conan Doyle must have written some stories for Sherlock Holmes with a Gothic influence, apart from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

    I have not read any Hardy yet, although I have Tess of the D'Urbervilles waiting at home. I will probably read it a chapter at a time, because I gather it's another emotional wringer. I suspect Hardy is with Conrad in being considered suitable for more advanced readers. I did not like the first few pages of Frankenstein when I started reading it many years ago. I found it heavy going. Maybe something by Wilkie Collins would be suitable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    I agree Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are bad choices to teach to fifteen-year-old boys. Many boys at that age are concerned about their masculinity; romantic fiction is strictly for girls. That would put Wuthering Heights out too.
    I agree that WH has much emotion in it, but my point there was that you could ignore that aspect and talk about other stuff than love (which particularly your boys are not going to enjoy).

    You could talk about the revenge bit, about the Gothic and spirit bit, you could talk about the setting/imagery, you could talk about religion. The highly romantic/emotional bit is only one of many.
    You will agree that the emotional issues in P&P and [I]JE/I] are much more obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    I have not read any Hardy yet, although I have Tess of the D'Urbervilles waiting at home. I will probably read it a chapter at a time, because I gather it's another emotional wringer. I suspect Hardy is with Conrad in being considered suitable for more advanced readers. I did not like the first few pages of Frankenstein when I started reading it many years ago. I found it heavy going. Maybe something by Wilkie Collins would be suitable.
    I don't know if Tess is an emotional wringer. It is sad and at the point you think it can't get any worse, think again, because, yehes it bl**dy well can. Things are never bad enough and you as a reader have never felt bad enough and empty enough. Lives are never without purpose enough. That's Naturalism though. Then again, P&P I find more difficult (in language) than JE. Not so in symbolism, because there is only one symbolic part in the whole novel (Austen was still experimenting), but the language is somewhat demanding. Not too much, but all the irony requires a more open mind than with other writers.
    To add to the problem, Victorians like to write about social issues. Exaggerating them a little sometimes. Dickens's image of the workhouse in Oliver Twist, for example, is severely exaggerated. Some places were awful, but some were fine, apart from the fact that the people in there were frankly prisoners. A demeaning and humaliating experience no doubt.
    Other times they were not exaggerated, but played down a little. Also in Oliver Twist the street children from the East End are portrayed in a somewhat funnier way than they should be, judging by Gustave Dorée's pictures from around 1830.

    But if you don't have any context about the Victorians and their issues and ideals, you will at best understand the words (probably not), but not what they are trying to say. Which is the whole point of novels, after all.

    It's like reading Les Misérables, and by extension everything nineteenth century French and critical like Zola, without knowing about the French Revolution and what they had expected from it (which did not happen; similar to what is going on now in Egypt). You understand the words, but there is a vast fog behind it.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    This is slightly surprising. I don't know what the British GCSE (exam for 16-year-olds) syllabus for English Literature is these days, but the BBC GCSE Bitesize web page lists one Dickens novel, Great Expectations, as one of the study books. The others are Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird and Heroes.
    Yes but the syllabus is ONE of these and ONE play, this is for the two year GCSE, also some poems but that is all for literature - so you can get away with just doing Of Mice and Men in terms of the novel for example. Dickens is absolutely not compulsory at GCSE, in fact literature is not compulsory for GCSE at all.

    Hardy is fantastic; I highly recommend Hardy at least Jude and Tess are particular favourites of mine so I would read Tess. Personally I find Hardy much easier to read then Dickens as well, maybe that is because my feelings about Dickens are quite patchy I don't know.

    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

    I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
    Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

    Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

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