Give the nice comments in the previous post, I am going to keep on writing my blog as I see fit -- typos et al.
I ask the above question because I had interesting conversation with my eldest's English teacher.She showed me a list of the books that they could choose from to study in depth at AS level. On the list were Waterland by G Swift (the teacher admitted it was *challenging* -- code for boring? non linear? confused plot line?), The Colour Purple (these are the two texts that the school uses), Tess' D'ubervilles, Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice. As P&P is one of my favourite novels, I said -- oh why not-- P&P, the teacher looked vaguely uncomfortable and said she disliked like doing it if there were a lot of boys in the class. I stared at her in astonishment. When did JA become for women only? She is a classical writer who helped make the modern novel what it is today. P&P is far more than simply a good romance to curl up with. It is just as worthy as Waterland to be studied. Has its success as a romance blinded people to its other qualities? When I did Emma at school, the emphasis was on the characterization and social satire, rather than on the story. I don't think the boys complained. Why should a novel with a good and easily accessible plot be ignored in favoured of something that may or may not stand the test of time.
Unfortunately, I did not get to say any of this, because a would be A level student came in and loudly announced she hoped there was no poetry on the course, she couldn't see the point. I resisted the temptation to make a snide remark to the girl, and felt sorry for the teacher. It must be hard.
I am currently reading Waterland. It was with no small irony that I saw the opening quote was from Great Expectations... Swift is a lyrical writer whose prose is replete with symbolism. I am hopeful of finding the plot soon.