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In Search of the Novel
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eight workshops

ten novels
ten novelists
the teachers
about the project



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[Teacher-talknovel] In Search of the Novel #1

From: Lindsay Ball <>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:47:45 -0700

Who owns the novel? It is a very interesting question. Does the
author-the person who created the novel-own it? Or do I as a purchaser own
it? I think the answer is neither. I believe the reader of the novel owns
it. And I don't mean a reader who simply picks up the book and casually
reads it. I mean a reader who puts him/herself into the novel. I mean a
reader who puts his/her own interpretation on the story and events and
characters' actions and deeds. When a reader takes meaning from a novel,
it becomes his/her novel. He/she has taken this piece of literature and
placed upon it a meaning that no one else may understand because no one
else has lived the same life. We all have different lives and experiences.
 When we pick up a piece of literature we all start with a different
perspective. It is that perspective that helps each reader gain a
different meaning from the novel. When we find this meaning, the novel
becomes our own. Therefore, the reader becomes the owner of the novel.

The easiest way to make a novel his/her own is to make connections. This
is how we find ourselves feeling for the characters in a novel or deciding
what we would have done in the same situation. It is why we think about
the novel as we go along our days. When a novel begins to encompass our
thoughts, we have made connections and taken ownership.

Another way to take ownership is to share a personal interpretation of the
novel. When a student can do this and support the ideas with proof from
the piece of literature, that student has taken ownership.

What can we do as teachers and educators to help our students take
ownership of a novel? One way I believe is to ask the students to share
their interpretations. Ask a student what he or she thinks of the novel.
 I would want more than, "I thought it was stupid." Or, "I thought it was
good." We need to teach our students how to express and expound their
ideas they gather while reading. This could be the beginning of a new
thought process for the students while they are reading.


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Received on Thu Feb 23 2012 - 08:49:04 EST

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