As you may be aware, am teaching English this year. We have just finished studying a new novel, Fog a Dox and I’m seriously wondering what damage I have done to the good work of the author.
It is a great little novel filled with descriptive language, indigenous perspectives, bush culture and a sensitive exploration of people and their life and death. We have looked at the author’s voice in the text; we’ve pulled apart the language structures and explored the descriptive text; we have tried to understand the characters of the book and how their personalities add to the telling of the story; and we have explored how we might anticipate the author’s voice by writing an additional chapter to the book.
These are all valuable learning experiences but at what cost? I wonder how many of my students would go back and read this book just for the pleasure of it. I wonder whether our exploration of the text in an way adds to their ability to explore any text or might my students’ analysis of any book detract from the sheer pleasure of reading.
Do we run the risk of exploring books to death?
What is your opinion?
Post Script: I wrote this a few weeks back and didn’t get around to posting. I have now asked my students to give me feedback on the book. It was a mixed bad of responses but there were many who felt the book failed to connect with them. I now need to ponder whether the connection would have been there if they had ‘just read it’…