Reading reflections in the Bookinglass

An expat with a love of fiction

Posts Tagged ‘English Literature

Searching for nuggets – IB English Lit

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Eng LitI am guilty….guilty of reading into the text to such an extent that I can’t enjoy the story. This supposedly higher plane of insight might not be such a bad thing, as I prise each nugget of extra ‘meaning’ from the text I get pleasure from finding it and examining its facets. But sometimes I just want to blot out all that subtle symbolism and read for reading’s sake. The prob is the more I think ‘don’t analyse this!!!’ the more I do it and berate myself. Makes reading anything take XTRA long and hella dull.

This english literature hangover came from studying in 6th form. I took the International Baccalaureate from 2004-2006 (a diploma which ensures that you will be able to spell it at the end of the two years as well as being a top Jack of all trades subject-wise). My fav subject was English literature!! Yeah, I know a little geeky and not so surprising given the theme of this blog. So how come I didn’t take it at uni? Well that is because I thought that I would never be able to enjoy a book for the rest of my life if I had to deconstruct the flesh out of it

So my answer to this little literature fanatical problem:


Not about the problem itself (as anyone who has ever been the least bit academic knows the critical and analytical mind takes over after it is doggedly trained).


So, to those who care, I got a 7 for higher level English literature. Not boasting here….oh ok, yeah I am I suppose, just a little. Some advice, you can take or leave if you are doing the IB: I loved the unseen commentaries (exam paper 1) mainly because I am the queen of pulling out imagery on the spot and using it to think about the overall themes. If in doubt I find that most themes are something to do with human existence: death, life, power, relationship (especially family) and culture. Use those images that strike you the most as obscure, surprising, evocative, then ask yourself why it stands out from the rest of the text.

Phew ok, now the crux of this post. I now look for passages from books I am reading which I think that the IB english literature powers-that-be might choose for an unseen commentary. Like the juiciest segment of language, action, and character development/insight. I would like to impart these passages to you lot here, if you are interested in practicing for an unseen text. If you disagree with my selections, tell me and I will be much humbled. Great. That’s it for now.


Written by bookinglass

October 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm