How to study literature

Most students feel quite daunted when they are faced with the task of reading classic novels like Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ or poems like Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’. That frustrating feeling you get when you can’t understand half the words on the page, then once you’ve checked the dictionary and think you’ve understood you discover that the entire passage is metaphoric or a symbol for something else? We’ve all been through it, remember the Valley of Ashes in Gatbsy? Part of the issue is that unfortunately, we have -at least the majority of us- not grown up reading or loving literature. We associate novels and poems with cold, dingy classrooms, strict or incompetent teachers and worst of all, exams. The trick, my friends, is to see literature as something else, to redefine it in your mind so that the images it conjures up is holding a book in which the writer is saying what you have always thought and felt, and the story feels like it is speaking to you. This journal will provide you with tips I hope you find useful in your quest to tolerate, like, or maybe love your literature modules:

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