How to get more enjoyment out of reading

Do you enjoy reading English? Are you enjoying the story we are reading at the moment? Did you know that you can get some benefit from reading a book even if you do not really like the story?

Some of you have told me you are happy to read CS Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch nd the Wadrobe”. However, perhaps there are some of you who are not so happy, or who do not enjoy this story so much.  I hope so! People who do not like the story can be of great help to us. Why? Because of dialectics 弁証法

Dialectics is a vital part of Western thinking. One example is the justice system: in court, the judge (or jury) hears not just one side of the story but both sides. The purpose is not necessarily to find the truth, but to decide which story is more probable. Justic cannot be done from hearing only one side. (This system is also called the adversarial system.)

What has this got to do with reading an English children’s story?  Is it a good story? Is it well-written? Does it have interesting dialogue? Are the characters believable? If you like the story, you can learn more about why it is a good story if you first

  1. hear someone else criticize the story, then
  2. defend the book (and your opinion) against this criticism.

We will discuss the merits (and weaknesses) of this story more after we have finished reading it. In the meantime, if you do not like this story, or if you find yourself losing interest, I encourage you to come forward and express yourself! Your thoughts are very welcome, in fact very useful and important.

Until our next session.

3 thoughts on “How to get more enjoyment out of reading”

  1. C.S.Lewis studied Christian apologetics. In chapter 2, the Faun used very polite, respectful expressions even to the child Lucy, for example, ” ‘Would you believe that I’m the sort of Faun to meet a poor innocent child in the wood, one that had never done me any harm, and pretend to be friendly with it, and invite it home to my cave, all for the sake of lulling it asleep and then hand it over to the White Witch?’ Lucy said ‘well’ rather slowly, for she wanted to be truthful and yet not to be too hard on him”.
    She was so kind and warm that she worried about him though she wanted to go back home. I thought Faun was really Christian because even though he might have his tail cut off and be turned into stone if his deed was found out by his employer, the White Witch, he let Lucy go back home. Lucy said, “I do hope you won’t get into dreadful trouble on my account.” I also thought Faun wanted to say that “Don’t be too inquisitive because ‘Some are wise,and some are otherwise.’

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading The Lion, the Withch and the Wardrobe, the first book by C.S. Lewis to me. Since the sentences are not so difficult and dialogues are simple, I just wanted to keep on reading. Christian parallels are found, but the central theme, love and forgiveness, is not only Christian but timeless and universal. I was attracted by Aslan and shared the grief with Susan and Lucy in a part. This is a lovely book and I’d love to share it with my grandchildren, if I could have.

    Now I’m reading The Great Divorce: A Dream by C.S.Lewis in Japanese. I don’t understand it well, and I’m not comfortable with it. Then, when I get back to our book, I’ve come to think it looks like children’s version of Bible. There are many Western children’s book which have the trace of Christianity, but so explicit like this one? However, small children would just enjoy this adventure fantasy heartily. So I accept this story as loving and moving literature. Do you care about religious links in the children’s book? If so, how much?

    I’ve found Philip Pullman, the author of His Dark Materials trilogy, is a harsh critic of The Chronicles of Narnia. I won’t introduce it, because his criticism is about the whole Narnia series, and I think his remarks about Narnia are very extreme. I’m a bit torn as I like his ideas and thoughts expressed in his books. I haven’t read the whole Narnia story, and maybe he must have some specific reasons and he sees much more than I in the book from his standpoint.

    For members’ information: Lewis and Pullman have contrasting ideas. Lewis’ messages are obviously Christian, while the messages I got from Pullman’s books is human liberation from the oppressive effects of organized religion, and about individual self-conscience, self-awareness, and consequently self-fulfillment. The Chronicles of Narnia is mainly for younger children, while The three books of His Dark Materials are mainly for young adults.

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