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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6683
Location: Herts
How do members find their dc's react to this novel as a GCSE set text? Animal Farm seems to me to be a lot closer to the life experiences of a 15/16 year old, some of the characters are like those they will have met at school. OMAM on the other hand seems to contain more adult themes plus the setting is not one they would have encountered. I am interested to hear opinions on this. DG


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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I have been teaching this text to lower set Year 10s. To my surprise, most have enjoyed it and some have come up with pretty mature insights into it. Though the range of questions is fairly predictable, I have yet to find even the most hardened Yr 10 boy (and I have some, I promise you) who hasn't picked up on the subtleties of the relationship between George and Lennie and managed to empathise with them. My own DD has done Mockingbird though, and enjoyed that tremendously. Not sure about Animal Farm...the political overtones are a bit lost on the current generation and I am not sure it is on any GCSE syllabus at present? I recommended this wholeheartedly as outside reading for a very able child who has not looked at me the same since.

I am also doing 'A Christmas Carol' with Year 11, which is pushing it by anyone's standards.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:33 pm
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In the Magwich household we think Steinbeck is related to Morpurgo - its that social message delivered as a blow to the head rammed home with a mallet!! Trite facile needless c**p beloved by exam boards and english teachers :twisted:


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
my son loved the book when he studied it..


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 2:14 pm
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Location: essex
"Trite, facile and needless c**p". I suspect the Nobel Prize committee were a little more impressed with his work.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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I cannot sit back and hear Michael Morpurgo described like that either. There aren't many authors who could make the Spanish civil war, transportation to Australia, conscientious objectors etc etc accessible to nine and ten year olds, as well as making their grannies cry with empathy, but he can.

But then I suppose as a teacher of English, my views are predicatable, magwich...I love the facile c**p. :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:59 pm
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Seriously? Really? John Steinbeck won the highest literary prizes (Pulitzer as well as Nobel) and wrote about themes which were highly controversial as the time – capitalism v communism, racism, prejudice, workers’ rights etc. All of which earned him some unwanted attention from the FBI in the McCarthy era…

I remain slightly dubious as to the merits of studying Of Mice And Men at GCSE level, but Steinbeck is of genuine importance as a chronicler of American life and The Grapes of Wrath and East Of Eden are seminal works of literature by any standards.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:39 am
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My DD hates it- 'depressing and pointless' - but then you should hear her thoughts on the behaviour of Romeo and Juliet! I'm assured by my son's English teacher that boys usually like it. Perhaps there's a gender bias?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:35 pm 
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I completely agree with Amber on this- had little personal experience of students engaging with Animal Farm- and agree too that Steinbeck has written some seminal work. Personally, I think he's a great author, although obviously he's not my favourite:)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Short, relatively easy text. I enjoyed teaching it and DS enjoyed studying it. I was a maths teacher, who covered English for a term. Of Mice and Men was easy to teach, the pupils were engaged and enjoyed the insight into a different life.


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