It's on the Blackboard - How to Read Great Literature - and Gain an Education!

Notes and summation from:

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer

Use notebook for Summation, etc.

Read as stages:
 First at Grammar Level - title, cover, Table of Contents as well as biograhical sketch.  Do NOT read Preface unless written by author (or you'll get an interpretation by someone other than author before developing your own.)

  • "Underneath - note any facts learned from cover, or introduction that will help read book as author intended.
  • "Keep a list of characters as I read.
  • "Note main event of each chapter.... 1 event per chapter. [One or 2 sentences.]
  • "Make initial notes on passages that seem interesting  ...  Distinguish from summations (ink? or margin notes?)
  • "Give the Book your own title and subtitle.  Go back and read chapter summaries.  If they give good idea of what the book is, write title - if not - then go back and re-write summations.  
    • Determine who is the central character in the book
    • Determine what is the most important event in the book
Logic Level
  • Once you have the story - go back and read bookmarked sections.
  • If non-fiction:
    • Of what is the author trying to convince you?  
    • What evidence is he using to convince you?
  • If Fiction
    • Am I transported to the novel's world?
    • Do I feel/hear/see this world?
    • Am I in sympathy with the people?
    • Do I understand their wants and wishes?
    • Is the novel a "fable" or a "chronicle"? Fables transport us to different worlds/times where different laws of nature apply.  Chronicles have cause/effect relationships that tie to this world.
      • If Novel is set in our world - HOW does the writer show us that reality?
      • If the Novel is in a fantastic world - What is the intent?
      • Is the novel primarily realistic so that I can relate to what is going on?
    • What does the central character want?  
      • What obstacles are there?  
        • Is it a person who is the obstacle?
      • What strategy will the central character use to overcome the obstacles?
    • Who is telling the story?
      • First person point of view
      • Second person
      • third-person limited
      • Third person objective (narrative)
      • Omniscent (writer is in the place of God - can see and hear EVERYTHING)
    • Where is the story set?
      • Natural? - friendly/unfriendly?/indifferent?
      • Human-built surroundings

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