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Thread: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

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    Prince of Maldonia Member Toby and Kiki Champion, Goo Slasher Champion, Frogger Champion woad&fangs's Avatar
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    Default Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Gah!
    Gah!
    Gah!

    I used to love reading. I'd go through at least two books per week. Fiction, Nonfiction, all genres, sizes, shapes, colors, and talent levels from across the spectrum of time.

    Then came my English classes with their endless barrage of book reports and being forced to read trash like To Kill a Mockingbird. I mean, where was the plot? Basically after reading that 2 years ago I completely stopped reading for fun. I didn't read a single book on my free time until this summer when Harry Potter 7 came out. I almost decided not to even bother reading that. A few months later I read Wicked and I finally decided to get back into reading, even if not as much as before. Currently I'm reading our own Lady Frog's Machievellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor and I've managed to get a bit more than half way through it. I thought to myself, reading is fun again!!!!

    But now English Class has struck again
    We're being forced to do a massive "literary Analysis"(basically from what I understand it is about how the author uses a particular literary technique or something silly like that) paper about a novel that we choose from a list of choices the teacher gives us.

    So which of these books will keep me from lapsing into another hatred of reading? Well done characters are probably the most important thing to me. "Preachy" books get on my nerves quickly.

    The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne
    A Farewell To Arms-Hemingway
    The Red Badge of Courage- Stephen Crane
    The Adventures of Huck Finn- Mark Twain

    thx
    Last edited by woad&fangs; 01-29-2008 at 03:32.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    From experience, the first two books are not where you want to go. Gatsby is every English teacher's wet dream in that it has been analyzed to death by the literary community and its themes are all well-known; however the fact remains that the plot isn't really much and the characters are all tough to identify with, especially if you're not rich. The Scarlet Letter is dense and definitely not to be read for pleasure.

    I'm unfamiliar with the other three but I think either Hemingway or Red Badge of Courage (by Stephen Crane, FWIW, and about the American Civil War) are your best bets.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    All good books, but I would steer you clear of Great Gatsby. I think it's very hard to relate to the characters if you're under twenty. Scarlet Letter is a thick trudge of a book, not enjoyment reading at all. The other three are all good choices, though. You might find a lot to like in Hemmingway ...
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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Bleargh. So often forced upon high schoolers, and for some stupid reason sometimes referred to as 'The Great American Novel'. No good.

    The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Dense, thick, overly wordy.

    A Farewell To Arms-Hemingway
    The Red Badge of Courage- Some Author Guy

    Haven't read them, but heard good things about both.

    The Adventures of Huck Finn- Mark Twain
    A good book, fun to read and entertaining (definitely more than can be said for the first two books).

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    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Don't bash a good literary analysis, it can really bring a story to life. Reading The Canterbury Tales and other highly symbolic literature by yourself can be a bore. Especially when the language is completely out of date. A good literature teacher brings life to the words. I'm at a loss for them right now which shows you I'm not one.

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    Come to daddy Member Geoffrey S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    All worthy books (haven't read the Red Badge of Courage yet), but in the end I'd recommend Hemmingway for since he is a favourite of mine. Sounds like you'd enjoy Huck Finn, too.

    What I would recommend, particularly with regards to the more intimidating works: find either someone else reading the books or check with the teacher for some kind of companion work to make sense of things. They're really books you want to take the time for to understand, but memories of school remind me that this often isn't the priority... so make sure you have something decent to help make out the important aspects for the assignment. Makes things far more enjoyable and worthwhile in the long run.
    Last edited by Geoffrey S; 01-29-2008 at 01:04.
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    Prince Louis of France (KotF) Member Ramses II CP's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Huck Finn, hands down. Twain's themes are clear and easily identifiable, his writing is stylish and funny, and the book has unshakeable, straightforward narrative flow. You don't really need any period knowledge to sustain a critical reading of Huck Finn as Twain cleverly provides quality context for nearly every event.

    Red Badge of Courage is also good, but a very difficult frame of mind for a modern teenager to try to identify with, as it (IMHO) relies on a certain presumed ignorance on the part of the young reader which no longer exists or is relevant.

    A Farewell to Arms is an excellent book, a book you should read on your own, but Hemingway's general thrust with the book is to communicate his own, personal experiences at war to a mature audience. The book is compelling, if a bit slow, but the main character is quite difficult to identify with (Or so it was for me) and the conclusion to the story is exquisitely painful. Probably the most difficult book of the five, and a book I would recommend you read at some point, but not for a book report.

    The Scarlet Letter is a readable book, but it avoids Strunk & White's crucial 'Omit needless words' advice on every single page. Irritatingly over developed and almost as hyper-dramatic as a soap opera, I would find it hard to write a positive review.

    Gatsby is trash, if I can be blunt. 'Emo' as the buzzword of the day would have it, from cover to cover. Frankly I found it was a lot like trying to pore through the gossip pages of some local newspaper, only written far more obscurely.


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    Urwendur rbl Senior Member Mouzafphaerre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    .
    From my unmentionably unworthy narrow experience, any Hemingway or Steinbeck (not in the list ) is worth your time.

    I sympathise. I used to paint quite a lot and lovingly when I was a kid. Then came the art classes, which eternally destroyed the little painter inside Mouzafphaerrette.
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Quote Originally Posted by woad&fangs
    Gah!
    Gah!
    Gah!

    I used to love reading. I'd go through at least two books per week. Fiction, Nonfiction, all genres, sizes, shapes, colors, and talent levels from across the spectrum of time.

    Then came my English classes with their endless barrage of book reports and being forced to read trash like To Kill a Mockingbird. I mean, where was the plot? Basically after reading that 2 years ago I completely stopped reading for fun. I didn't read a single book on my free time until this summer when Harry Potter 7 came out. I almost decided not to even bother reading that. A few months later I read Wicked and I finally decided to get back into reading, even if not as much as before. Currently I'm reading our own Lady Frog's Machievellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor and I've managed to get a bit more than half way through it. I thought to myself, reading is fun again!!!!

    But now English Class has struck again
    We're being forced to do a massive "literary Analysis"(basically from what I understand it is about how the author uses a particular literary technique or something silly like that) paper about a novel that we choose from a list of choices the teacher gives us.

    So which of these books will keep me from lapsing into another hatred of reading? Well done characters are probably the most important thing to me. "Preachy" books get on my nerves quickly.

    The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne
    A Farewell To Arms-Hemingway
    The Red Badge of Courage- Stephen Crane
    The Adventures of Huck Finn- Mark Twain

    thx
    I never read the Great Gatsby or The Scarlet Letter. Huckleberry Finn is probably the best choice imho. RBC was an alright book but I don't remember much about it. I've never read A Farewell To Arms, but one of my friends had read it and said it was dull, though you might think differently. Though I don't think you can go wrong with a Hemingway book at least in my opinion.
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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Quote Originally Posted by woad&fangs
    Gah!
    Gah!
    Gah!

    I used to love reading. I'd go through at least two books per week. Fiction, Nonfiction, all genres, sizes, shapes, colors, and talent levels from across the spectrum of time.

    Then came my English classes with their endless barrage of book reports and being forced to read trash like To Kill a Mockingbird. I mean, where was the plot?


    I remember having to read Satanic Verses. When it came to the discussion, it turned out no-one in the class had read it. We'd all given up on it, not because of ideological reasons, but because it was so bloody boring, and we told the tutor as much. Considering that even Ulysses got some fans in the class, that was saying something. I remember Wise Children also getting some uncomfortable silences in class, reading out these paragraphs about shagging - IIRC there was some incest in there as well, just to make it even more uncomfortable to read. To the Lighthouse was a bit of a bore as well, another book with all thoughts and no plot. The formalists and their descendants deserve to be strung up for perpetuating the idea that form is the first and only thing that's important about a literary work.

    That said, one of my favourite moments was asking which bits of Catullus I was supposed to read, and being told to just read and enjoy. I did, and I did. My favourite parts were the love poems, but the libels about Julius Caesar were just as readable.

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    Master Procrastinator Member TevashSzat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    In terms of relative ease, I'd say Scarlet Letter would be towards the top there.

    The sheer amount of metaphors/symbolism that you have to babble on and on and on about in a lit analysis paper is just amazing.

    Peal/ the bush are symbols
    Hester is a christ figure
    Chillingworth's name
    ect...

    There tons you can write about
    "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." - Issac Newton

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    The Usual Member Ice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Hemingway

    I did that exact book for the exact paper you are doing.

    Like it has been said, the ending is extremely painful, but overall, I think it's a great book. I mean, how often do you get to read about average life in Europe during the World War I era?



  13. #13
    Robot Unicorn Member Kekvit Irae's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    I suggest Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Insightful, informative, and a very entertaining read from start to finish.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Huck finn is a great book.

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    the G-Diffuser Senior Member pevergreen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Huck Finn would be the best fun to read.

    After reading "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Hemmingway) last year for 1/3 of the assessment (Was second last year, now in final year of school!) i would reccomend it. My English teacher is great though, head of English.

    If its coming from you, probably Huck Finn.
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    Cynic Senior Member sapi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Haven't actually read the others (shame! I know ) but avoid Gatsby like the plague, Lemur's right in saying that there's really nothing for the average high school student to relate to there, and I'd hardly call writing about the failure of the American Dream an interesting prospect
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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Any of the last three as already stated. Gatsby is sooooooooooooo boring; I did see a decent theatrical adaptation once, but the book itself is like trying to chew through lead. The one thing I liked about the English course we had to do at High School, was that other than Shakespeare, the options were noticeably less cliché and/or had a twist to the way we had to study them. At least you got a few options for your paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by woad&fangs
    (basically from what I understand it is about how the author uses a particular literary technique or something silly like that)
    What you should do is come up with several points that relate to the main issues and themes expressed and represented in the text, then using literary techniques as examples show how the author went about representing these themes/ideas. Note: Mention contexts and values.
    Good Luck.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian


    I remember having to read Satanic Verses. When it came to the discussion, it turned out no-one in the class had read it.
    Terrible.

    Had to read all the crap above as well, pretentieus gah.

    Lord of the Flies is a great book for an asignment, there is tons of depth in it and it's just a great chilling read.

    Kill the beast, cut it's throat, remarkable book.

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    Cynic Senior Member sapi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony
    Terrible.

    Had to read all the crap above as well, pretentieus gah.

    Lord of the Flies is a great book for an asignment, there is tons of depth in it and it's just a great chilling read.

    Kill the beast, cut it's throat, remarkable book.


    I still think they were a bit ambitious setting it as a grade 10 text for us, though
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Quote Originally Posted by sapi


    I still think they were a bit ambitious setting it as a grade 10 text for us, though
    It isn't for kids, won't understand it but can't have been boring. Recently reread a book I did for dutch, and judging from the parts that I whatsitcalled it was pretty clear that I didn't understand a single bit of it. When there was a brilliant relativation of science and ambition to be had I was instead reading a book about a guy looking for a meteorite in Norway.

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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ichigo
    I never read the Great Gatsby or The Scarlet Letter. Huckleberry Finn is probably the best choice imho. RBC was an alright book but I don't remember much about it. I've never read A Farewell To Arms, but one of my friends had read it and said it was dull, though you might think differently. Though I don't think you can go wrong with a Hemingway book at least in my opinion.
    Hey!!! What do you mean, you never read the Great Gatsby???
    Me and Ryan were dying looking for quotes in American History and you said you never even read the darn book? I hate you! Who was your English III teacher? Come to think about it, Andrew didn't read that book either. I envy you! Stupid hurricane Rita, made our class skip Red Badge and move straight into Gatsby. My paper on the characterization of the characters didn't even look like my own paper by the time I finished it. It was so generic and I just couldn't write it w/o using the systematic approach of insert quote and explain/analyze.
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    Prince of Maldonia Member Toby and Kiki Champion, Goo Slasher Champion, Frogger Champion woad&fangs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    We have until tuesday to make a final descision on which book we want to do the lit analysis on. The teacher is loaning out copies of the books so we can read a little of them and see which one we want to read. I took Huck Finn and Farewell to arms. I'm about 30 pages into Farewell and it seems to be pretty good so I'll probably stick with that. As an added bonus it's set in WWI, and I love reading about WWI.
    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road,
    but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely
    chicken's dominion maintained. ~Machiavelli

  23. #23
    Philologist Senior Member ajaxfetish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    I haven't read Farewell to Arms but have heard good things. If you go with it, I hope you have a good time.

    You can't go wrong with Mark Twain, though.

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ajaxfetish
    You can't go wrong with Mark Twain, though.

    Ajax
    Seconded.

    I would've recommended Huck Finn first, and then The Red Badge of Courage second. Glad to see you stayed away from Hawthorne and Fitzgerald, though -- only the truly masochistic seem to enjoy those two.

    Oddly, I don't think I ever had to read Hemingway when I was in school. Still haven't.
    Last edited by Martok; 01-30-2008 at 17:49.
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    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    and being forced to read trash like To Kill a Mockingbird.
    I'm with you on that one, Woad, I feel your pain - way back in school my Eng Lit course covered this one, and fortunately we only had to do (IIRC) 9 out of a choice of 10 assignments. I got about 10 pages into this and told the teacher "this is the one I won't be doing, I refuse to read the rest of this". Totally impossible to relate to for me, can't remember why now, my mind goes blank when I think about it.

    Anyway, I think you've picked the best of the ones on offer
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    Urwendur rbl Senior Member Mouzafphaerre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stupid "Literary Analysis Paper"(which of these books is worth reading?)

    .
    The Farewell has a few movie adaptations; the one with Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones and -the brilliant - Vittorio de Sica is recommendable.
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