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#1
I have always had an interest in literature, but more specifically, the way in which it defines or even creates culture. I've stated many times that cultural movements such as the civil rights or feminist movements were bolstered or even lead by literary texts.

So, in this thread, I would like to discuss your favorite novels, short stories, or poems and possibly get a feel for not only what the author was thinking, but how the work could have affected the current or future societies.

For example, Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) is fairly easy to critique. The cultural impact and messages are made very clear.

One of my favorite short stories is "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/gcarr/19cUSWW/CPG/TYW.html

I've only ever read it as a feminist text, with obvious themes of domestication and oppression of women and 19th century gender roles/stereotypes. At the end, I've always thought that the woman has redefined or found a comfortable niche in society and even oversteps the typically dominant male role.


Anyone else care to share a favorite and it's interpretation?
#2
Im the same, literature has always interested me because it can become so powerful. Like you said TS it can be so powerful as to help change culture and world in which we live. In saying that I don't read enough which is a dissappointing habit that im trying to irradicate.

One of my favourite novels in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Its a great read and a completely weird experience but definately a classic, I love the 'gonzo' style of writing.
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#3
I like the stuff Frank Schaetzing writes, dunno if any of you ever heard of him. His novels aren't groundbreaking or anything, it's just good entertainment.


that and harry potter
#4
Well Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut had quite a profound effect on me. I actually wrote a review on it for my English class which you can read here.

I love how a decent book can change your perspective on life and how they can hold no bars compared to other media. I wrote a blog about literature which you can read here.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

I'm sorry for not being interesting enough but I've not been very well today I'll get into this discussion later on.
#5
Yes! Another thread about literature, we've been in dire need of a new one. It's just impossible to keep them alive, especially when threads about "Oh noes, my cum is green!" and "I just killed my girlfriend's dog!" are around.

Well, books. Nightraven I agree wholeheartedly, it's a fantastic book with uncanny images of the future - written in 1948. It is one of my favourite books, I've become hooked on dystopian novels and films now. I'm reading "KIngdom Come" by JG Ballard, he describes the dangers of consumerism and how it becomes a newer and more relevant form of politics.

Has anyone read "Empire of the Sun" by JG Ballard? I've got it and I'm going to start reading it soon, I'd just like some opinions besides to one from my mother.
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#6
Yea, I was pretty happy to see a thread like this for once. The other threads are funny but it's good to see some UGers have more than three or four brain cells :P
Manchester United Est. 1878

Do you DIG?

Cos I DIG.
#7
Quote by SealCubMassacre
Well Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut had quite a profound effect on me. I actually wrote a review on it for my English class which you can read here.

I love how a decent book can change your perspective on life and how they can hold no bars compared to other media. I wrote a blog about literature which you can read here.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

I'm sorry for not being interesting enough but I've not been very well today I'll get into this discussion later on.

That's a scary blog. TV media has also had and continues to have a profound impact on society. Couple the fact that no one reads or is capable of critical thinking with the ideas that are glorified by Hollywood and you've got a screenplay for a horror flick that would scare any intelligent individual.
#8
Quote by denizenz
That's a scary blog. TV media has also had and continues to have a profound impact on society. Couple the fact that no one reads or is capable of critical thinking with the ideas that are glorified by Hollywood and you've got a screenplay for a horror flick that would scare any intelligent individual.


Exactly. I hate the fact as well that intelligence and freedom of thought is looked down upon by some sections of society. For example, the other day in English class I used the word "generic" to describe the structure of a poem and a group of girls flipped out, saying that I "shouldn't show off in class with big words and that there was no need for it", as if I was being ostentatious about it. Perhaps if they read a book in their lives they'd have a vocabulary beyond primary-school English and have the ability to put their thoughts across more effectively and intelligently. Sadly, I don't see it happening.

[/rant]

Thanks for reading the blog
#12
Quote by SealCubMassacre
Exactly. I hate the fact as well that intelligence and freedom of thought is looked down upon by some sections of society. For example, the other day in English class I used the word "generic" to describe the structure of a poem and a group of girls flipped out, saying that I "shouldn't show off in class with big words and that there was no need for it", as if I was being ostentatious about it. Perhaps if they read a book in their lives they'd have a vocabulary beyond primary-school English and have the ability to put their thoughts across more effectively and intelligently. Sadly, I don't see it happening.

[/rant]

Thanks for reading the blog



In my second college level English Literature class, the teacher had a death in the family and decided to take the year off. We ended up with a replacement, and I had my doubts as to whether or not she even graduated high school. I was so excited about literature after doing reviews and interpretations my first year that I was completely disappointed by the second level course because the instructor failed half the class for putting their thesis sentence someplace other than the first line of their research paper.

Anyway, for one of the class projects, we were to read Hemingway's "Old man in the sea" and give an oral presentation on a section of it. I got up and talked about how my passage was metaphoric for whatever and how the author was really talking about some grand struggle or something and she said, "I think you're reading too much into it". Really dumbass? I could have punched her face.

Quote by Craigo
This thread is book marked. I've been studying philosophy for the last hour, so I'll comment better later

#14
Quote by denizenz


In my second college level English Literature class, the teacher had a death in the family and decided to take the year off. We ended up with a replacement, and I had my doubts as to whether or not she even graduated high school. I was so excited about literature after doing reviews and interpretations my first year that I was completely disappointed by the second level course because the instructor failed half the class for putting their thesis sentence someplace other than the first line of their research paper.

Anyway, for one of the class projects, we were to read Hemingway's "Old man in the sea" and give an oral presentation on a section of it. I got up and talked about how my passage was metaphoric for whatever and how the author was really talking about some grand struggle or something and she said, "I think you're reading too much into it". Really dumbass? I could have punched her face.






I'm sort of in the same situation now. Our English class has a replacement teacher and he is absolutely useless. He spelt "pastiche" wrong, so I corrected him. A few days later my form tutor and I were doing a progress report and she said I've had complaints by him about my attitude in class. As well as that, this dude has never heard of Kurt Vonnegut or Chuck Palahniuk. He's so bad that I actually kind of feel sorry for him.

I just can't wait to get on to University and do English Literature. Does anybody else do it here?
#15
Quote by InfiniteSadness
^How was Old Man in the Sea? I've only read Farewell to Arms from Hemingway and I loved it.

I thought it was very good. Hemingway can get long winded, but overall I thought it was great. A fast read too, not too long.
#16
Quote by SealCubMassacre


I'm sort of in the same situation now. Our English class has a replacement teacher and he is absolutely useless. He spelt "pastiche" wrong, so I corrected him. A few days later my form tutor and I were doing a progress report and she said I've had complaints by him about my attitude in class. As well as that, this dude has never heard of Kurt Vonnegut or Chuck Palahniuk. He's so bad that I actually kind of feel sorry for him.

I just can't wait to get on to University and do English Literature. Does anybody else do it here?

I'm doing English at uni next year. Which university are you going to?
#17
Quote by InfiniteSadness
^How was Old Man in the Sea?


*and the sea

I thought it was good, but long winded. He could really develop the main charachter but sometimes it was just another page of the same thing.

I'm not much into them here books here but I read... sometimes. Last book I read was The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. You guys should check it out, it's funny, somewhat surreal and very smart.
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#18
As far as novels go, anyone read You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe? It's easily one of the best books I've ever read.
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#19
Quote by Kensai
*and the sea

I thought it was good, but long winded. He could really develop the main charachter but sometimes it was just another page of the same thing.

I'm not much into them here books here but I read... sometimes. Last book I read was The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. You guys should check it out, it's funny, somewhat surreal and very smart.

I thought Santiago was about as well developed as possible for the story to still work. I read him as being a simple, humble man with no hidden depths and the story woks because such an old, ordinary and fragile man is taking on the might of the ocean, knowing that he won't be able to win and still giving everything he has.

And Terry Pratchett is brilliant, altough I prefer the Discworld series itself. I swear you could read his books again and againand stillnot be able to notice all the tiny hidden references ad jokes.
#20
Quote by SmarterChild
I thought Santiago was about as well developed as possible for the story to still work. I read him as being a simple, humble man with no hidden depths and the story woks because such an old, ordinary and fragile man is taking on the might of the ocean, knowing that he won't be able to win and still giving everything he has.

And Terry Pratchett is brilliant, altough I prefer the Discworld series itself. I swear you could read his books again and againand stillnot be able to notice all the tiny hidden references ad jokes.


No I meant that I thought he did a good job developing the character.

I'm currently reading "thud" but I need glasses before I can continue. Seriously it's a blur
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#21
Quote by Kensai
*and the sea

I thought it was good, but long winded. He could really develop the main charachter but sometimes it was just another page of the same thing.

I'm not much into them here books here but I read... sometimes. Last book I read was The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. You guys should check it out, it's funny, somewhat surreal and very smart.



That book is actually based on "The Pied Piper of Hamelin", in which the piper is said to represent a death, disease, or epidemic that claimed many children's lives. The black plague is an obvious suggestion.


There you go, an interpretation of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents...kind of.
#22
Quote by Kensai
No I meant that I thought he did a good job developing the character.

I'm currently reading "thud" but I need glasses before I can continue. Seriously it's a blur


Thud is brilliant. Read it without glasses, even if it turns you blind, it'll be worth it. It's probably Pratchett's best in my opinion.
#23
Quote by SmarterChild
I thought Santiago was about as well developed as possible for the story to still work. I read him as being a simple, humble man with no hidden depths and the story woks because such an old, ordinary and fragile man is taking on the might of the ocean, knowing that he won't be able to win and still giving everything he has.

Santiago is compared to Jesus multiple times in the text.
#24
Quote by denizenz
Santiago is compared to Jesus multiple times in the text.

Having read the book, I am aware of this.
#25
I'll be off soon, but I'll all be up to discuss later. I haven't been into literature that long, but I get through books like anything. People tend to be shocked nowadays if they see me outside the house without a book (even at work).

My college library were giving away old books for new stock, and I picked up One Hundred Years in Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez because I thought it looked good. Any thoughts on that novel?
#27
Quote by SmarterChild
Thud is brilliant. Read it without glasses, even if it turns you blind, it'll be worth it. It's probably Pratchett's best in my opinion.

I was very disapointed by that novel.

After reading three of his books, I don't think I'll be reading any more of his stuff. He's a good writer, it just feels weak, sloppy and very over rated.
#28
Quote by denizenz
Just throwing it out there...the whole idea of the thread was to hear what other people thought different things were symbolic of.

I don't think the Jesus comaparison showed any hidden depths to his character. I've interpreted it as simply showing a pure self-sacrifice. I suppose it could be read on a divine level, as Santiago being a sort of perfect model for what people should be like (I sort of went into that on my A level English coursework), but I think Hemingway only intended the Christ imagery to flag up the sacrificial element of the text.
#29
Quote by Craigo
I'll be off soon, but I'll all be up to discuss later. I haven't been into literature that long, but I get through books like anything. People tend to be shocked nowadays if they see me outside the house without a book (even at work).

My college library were giving away old books for new stock, and I picked up One Hundred Years in Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez because I thought it looked good. Any thoughts on that novel?

I've not read it. Got a synopsis or a good link?

Quote by SmarterChild
I don't think the Jesus comaparison showed any hidden depths to his character. I've interpreted it as simply showing a pure self-sacrifice. I suppose it could be read on a divine level, as Santiago being a sort of perfect model for what people should be like (I sort of went into that on my A level English coursework), but I think Hemingway only intended the Christ imagery to flag up the sacrificial element of the text.

I agree. I actually didn't read it from a religious angle either.
#30
Quote by Kensai
*and the sea

I thought it was good, but long winded. He could really develop the main charachter but sometimes it was just another page of the same thing.



*character

I'm reading The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks at the moment. I'm not far into it but I'll keep y'all posted on it.

BTW to the guy that asked, I want to do it at Leeds Metropolitan.
#31
Quote by SealCubMassacre
Exactly. I hate the fact as well that intelligence and freedom of thought is looked down upon by some sections of society. For example, the other day in English class I used the word "generic" to describe the structure of a poem and a group of girls flipped out, saying that I "shouldn't show off in class with big words and that there was no need for it", as if I was being ostentatious about it. Perhaps if they read a book in their lives they'd have a vocabulary beyond primary-school English and have the ability to put their thoughts across more effectively and intelligently. Sadly, I don't see it happening.

[/rant]

Thanks for reading the blog

I shall read your blog later, as this is my last post of tonight (I promise!)

And yeah, me and the girl I'm interested in at the moment (you may be familiar :p have had endless conversations about this. Being able to express yourself with full clarity and expression is one of the greatest things the world can offer, and that statement is also strong tied in with my very liberation political views. I'm always trying to increase my volcabuary, whether I know it or not. However, at college, a good volcab is looked upon as a good thing, opposed to people looking down at you for it. I used to hate that in school.
#32
Quote by SealCubMassacre

BTW to the guy that asked, I want to do it at Leeds Metropolitan.

I'm going to Leeds University. From this, it's obvious that all the best Literature students choose Leeds.
#34
Quote by Craigo
I shall read your blog later, as this is my last post of tonight (I promise!)

And yeah, me and the girl I'm interested in at the moment (you may be familiar :p have had endless conversations about this. Being able to express yourself with full clarity and expression is one of the greatest things the world can offer, and that statement is also strong tied in with my very liberation political views. I'm always trying to increase my volcabuary, whether I know it or not. However, at college, a good volcab is looked upon as a good thing, opposed to people looking down at you for it. I used to hate that in school.


You caught her in her week long window yet?



It's the opposite for me! At my old school everyone was impressed with you if you have a good vocabulary, but in College it's looked down upon even in English!

Ridiculous.

Quote by SmarterChild
I'm going to Leeds University. From this, it's obvious that all the best Literature students choose Leeds.


Word.

I'm not going till 2009 though because I completely screwed up my subject choices in my first year
#35
At the moment I'm reading, "Lanark" by Alasdair Gray. I like it so far. Some lovely writing and it really strikes true with me at some points, it really hit me somewhere.

There's a lot in it about humans and love. People who can't love in "Unthank" (A sort of dystopian version of Glasgow - though wether it's actually dystopian isn't that clear cut, just saying for reference sake) grow scales. They armour themselves against feeling with these scales, feelings can't get through them (At one point Lanark (the character) talks about how the scales on his arm have been growing nightly, but after some interaction with some children he finds it doesn't grow that night). Eventually this armour builds up and (they describe it in the book as heat) and heat can't get out of them and then it builds up and they explode.

can't relaly be bothered talking about it, but it's good and i'd reccomend it to people here.
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Last edited by meh! at Feb 26, 2008,
#37
Quote by SealCubMassacre
You caught her in her week long window yet?
Word.

I'm not going till 2009 though because I completely screwed up my subject choices in my first year

Ahh well, in 2009 we should totally form a Leeds-based Literature club, albeit one that spends the whole time in the pub.

And to what I'm reading: 'Jude The Obscure' by Thomas Hardy. Anyone else here read it, and if so, what did you think about it? My Dad told me it's probably the most depressing book he's ever read, so I'm rather looking forward to the rest of it.
#38
Quote by SmarterChild


And to what I'm reading: 'Jude The Obscure' by Thomas Hardy. Anyone else here read it, and if so, what did you think about it? My Dad told me it's probably the most depressing book he's ever read, so I'm rather looking forward to the rest of it.


Don't like Hardy at all. I've only read Tess and Return of the Native... but I dindn't like either. His books were serialised... which might explain why he is overly descriptive to absolutely no end... but then so were so many other authors I enjoy (serialised as well, i mean). All in all, i just don't think he's very good
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#39
Quote by meh!
Don't like Hardy at all. I've only read Tess and Return of the Native... but I dindn't like either. His books were serialised... which might explain why he is overly descriptive to absolutely no end... but then so were so many other authors I enjoy (serialised as well, i mean). All in all, i just don't think he's very good

I've only read Far From The Madding Crowd, which I thought was a bit long-winded, although the ending was great. I agree, his description can be a bit too much at times (there's only so many times you can describe the landscape being covered in snow before it starts to wear thin), but it's lovely to read in small doses.
#40
Quote by SmarterChild
I've only read Far From The Madding Crowd, which I thought was a bit long-winded, although the ending was great. I agree, his description can be a bit too much at times (there's only so many times you can describe the landscape being covered in snow before it starts to wear thin), but it's lovely to read in small doses.


Yeah, I find him totally repellent.

Like, you know the "first drink" you ever got drunk on? Well, I can't even smell that drink without feeling ill anymore.

It's like that...but with an author...that author being Hardy.

Each to his own

EDIT: Seriously though (no longer directed at smarter child, just generally), read the first (incredibly boring) chapter of Tess and tell me what you've learned?

Father = bit lazy.

...


...


*30 pages later*

*falls asleep*
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