AD's English Literature : How to Understand Literary Stories: Book Survey?

How to Understand Literary Stories: Book Survey?

It is time that the art of reading story, of which we have many beautiful examples from infant days, should be strictly distinguished from the burden of examinations. Like acting or the playing of music, it is an art of interpretation of self searching. It requires, at its best, an exacting and imaginative scholarship, for we must understand story text in its fullest and most living sense; it requires a power over the instrument of storytelling. We should also take hold of the author's perspectives over the expression of his characters’ voice or the pictures of his story body. Readers’ aim, too, is identical with the aims of the author’s arts of interpretation. Meanings or perceptions of the reading text may vary only if it is well read.

 In that perspective, for understanding literary stories, a time line can help to organize the steps in the process. A Literary Time Line can help us writing down the story's events in the order they occur. It is especially helpful for writing a plot summary and Ready Reference Note Book for comprehensive understanding the story itself.

Ready Reference Note Book can never help us understand books unless it is planned and composed by own study. Because only but our self taught with reference keys give us insights that make for great book reports. By these ways we gain a new perspective by reading about the author , and learn how settings, characters, and themes help make these books acclaimed works of literature. 

Here, we must remember that every good STORY from the library at least possesses the minor merit of novelty. The taste to search its treasures is to be our goal.   The key to the heart of story   lies in the intelligent interest of story. We have to enlarge our intimacy with the story. It is always to be remembered that every book deserves a square deal. It is not fair to make up our minds about a person before meeting him. Neither is it fair to foster a preconception of a book before opening it. The reader should take up the book with unbiased mind and heart, ready to get its message. Many a reader is on the lookout to find his own ideas in what he reads. He is not willing to hear the case stated by another. He perverts what the author says by the bent of his own mind. Why not regard a book as the actual voice of a friend talking to us? Let us give the strictest attention. Let us heed with sympathy all he says. Let us try to put ourselves into his place and get his point of view. 

A   close introspection with the story and the author is a lively desire to literary advancement.  Justice can only be done to the story if past development and present capacities of the story and its author can be assessed. If the wit, the morality, and the philosophy of the vigorous mind of authors can be captured into further exploration of literature, and deeper sense of our responsibility in author’s composition, the author will be repaid. Here how a Ready Reference Note Book can be planned and executed through Literary Time Line :-

Book Survey: Model Example

Title: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Background: Oceania- a fictional state representing both England and America is the setting where totalitarian society in it is in question.

Event I: Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party from Oceania who works at the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue, in Newspeak), has decided, against his better judgment, to keep a diary in which his true feelings are laid bare- writes of his hatred for Big Brother.

He held absolute proof that the Ministry was lying- about three revolutionaries, Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford, who were executed for planning a revolt against the state.

Winston catches hope in the proletariat who are the 85 percent of the population of Oceania that exists outside the Party, kept in a perpetual state of slovenly poverty but mostly unregulated, unobserved.

Winston's searching for that little bit of hope met a girl.

Event II: Winston sees the dark-haired girl Julia at the Ministry of Truth, finds love instead... The two meet, sharing the delicacies that Julia gets on the black and relishing their moments of freedom.

O'Brien, under the guise of having a copy of the newest Newspeak dictionary, approaches Winston at the ministry and invites him to his apartment.

Shortly after waking up from a long nap, Winston and Julia hear a voice from a hidden telescreen that suddenly commands them to stand in the middle of the room. Mr. Charrington enters with a crew of storm troopers who beat Winston and Julia, then hurry them separately away.

Event III: Winston is tortured in jail—known as the Ministry of Love—for an indeterminable length of time.

The purpose of Miniluv is not to produce forced confessions and then kill its victims, but to “cure” the confessors, to enable them to see the truth of their confessions and the correctness of the Party's doublethink, in which “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength.”

Winston still loves Julia.

Winston must come to love Big Brother, for the Party wants no martyrs, no opposition at all. Winston is released a shell of a man, his hair and teeth gone, his body destroyed. 

Climax: At last, it is announced over the telescreen in the bar that Oceania has won an important victory in the war. Suddenly Winston feels himself purged, no longer running with the crowd in the street but instead walking to his execution in the Ministry of Love. He can be shot now, for he at last believes. He loves Big Brother.

Resolution: 1984 is George Orwell's dark vision of the future. 

Search Light: Big Brother, the mysterious all-seeing, all-knowing leader of the totalitarian society is a god-like icon to the citizens he rules.

Emmanuel Goldstein is the great enemy of Big Brother. An older Jewish man with white hair and a goatee, Goldstein is a former Party leader but now the head of an underground conspiracy to overthrow the Party.

O'Brien is a member of the Inner Party. He is a large, burly, and brutal-looking man, and yet Winston thinks he has a certain charm and civility.

Orwell named his central character Winston Smith after Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during World War II.

Winston's Dead mother appears only in his dreams of the past. He recalls her sudden disappearance story, a reminiscent of Joseph Stalin's infamous purges in Russia.

Deep Insight:
  •  Freedom and Enslavement/Free Will
  • Appearances and Reality
  • Loyalty and Betrayal
  • Utopia and Anti-Utopia
  • Patriotism
    Ardhendu De  
Ref: 1. Teaching My Pupils- Dr. Sabbir Hussian
        2. Teaching the Classes and Subsequent Criticism- Dr. R. L. Varshney
        3. Those Who can Teach, Lenses on Teaching, and Character Development in Schools and Beyond- Kevin Ryan

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