Monday, 6 October 2014

Blue is Blue

One of the reasons why so many of the people that I know hate reading, is because they hate English. One of the reasons why they hate English, is because it had a terrible tendency to be a load of proverbial excrement.

What I mean by this, is that the majority of an English (literature) student's time, is spent analysing every single word a writer does, or doesn't, use. 

There are instances where this is okay. There are instances where this is interesting. But there are far more instances where it is neither of these things.

Image sourced from here.

Despite previous discussionsI am not entirely sure that I have a right to call myself a writer. But I do write, and when I carry out the said activity, I do not ever think in the way that the English teachers seem to think that writers do:

Some of the decisions I make when writing are conscious. Sometimes a particular word is significant, or a particular passage. But more often than not, I simply sit and write, without so much as a thought as to what I am doing. My sub-conscious mind may well be carefully selecting colours, and adverbs, and weather-styles. But I'm not.

Not only do I disagree with what we're taught, but it saddens me that we are. For, a writer writes either for his enjoyment, or for the enjoyment of others. I would hate to think that a novel I'd spent potentially years perfecting could be transformed into nothing more than an exam text. I don't want my work to be analysed; if it must be read then I should like it to be enjoyed.

Image sourced from here.

I cannot account for the opinions of real writers. And I am a massive, self-confessed hypocrite, because I have chosen to take both English Literature and English Language at A-level. But it does concern me that in tearing apart texts in this way, not only are we putting people off reading, but we are teaching them to miss the point.

In the History Boys, there is a wonderful moment where the boys declare that in art, there is no 'in other words'. There is only what is there. So if a writer says one thing, that is what they mean....not something else.

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