How would you improve a classic? : LUSENET : Novenotes : One Thread

Did Scarlett set your teeth on edge? Did you think Oliver Twist was a mealy-mouthed brat? What characters in literature or in movies or TV would you change---for the better?--Al

-- Al Schroeder (, January 02, 2000


I think Rowling set up the term Muggles intentionally to address exactly what you objected to. When she was writing the book, she was a single mother on welfare, so I think her intention was to show younger readers that they can keep their dignity, even when they have been dismissed and stereotyped by others.

Hermione's parents were muggles, so to many of the students from wizard families, she was seen as inferior (at least in the second book). Ron Weasley's family were wizards, but they weren't wealthy, so he couldn't even afford to replace his broken wand, and looked down upon also. I don't know if everyone has this experience, but there are some people who are easy to classify as losers all of their lives, because most people are quick to judge others so. Mark Twain addressed racism by making Huck Finn a racist character. I believe Rowling needed the prejorative term to address analogous themes in her book, without creating a politically correct manifesto..

As for the Dursley's, well, suppressing aptitude and invention in others is what they know how to do. How they do it is incidental, because the damage is done, anyway you look at it. The Malfoys were a hundred times worse, but they didn't have as direct an influence over Harry's well-being, so we didn't hate them so much.

Harry then shows us how to make a game of retreating from the Dursley's cruelty. Instead of responding to the Dudley's cruelty by shooting up his school, he makes a game of staying just outside of his reach. The cruelty is not in our stars, but in our eye.

-- Mike (, January 03, 2000.

Mostly I avoid reading classics. Not even really intentionally, but somehow I never get around to reading all those books I "should" have read.

And movies ... well ... I can't sit up long enough to watch one on the big screen and my computer screen is bigger than my TV - that might give you an idea of the relative priorities :)

-- Bek Oberin (, January 03, 2000.

I understand Mike's point about "Muggles," but I had Al's reaction when I read the first Harry Potter book (for the first time over Christmas weekend). Maybe the benign intent becomes clearer in subsequent volumes, but my first thought about "Muggles" was, "Eww, I don't want my child to learn to think of any group by a single, stereotyped label." I'm not bothered by Harry's inability to defend himself against the Durstables (did I get the name right?), because every kid's book needs an inescapable bully.

-- Tom Dean (, January 03, 2000.

how can i say this without peeing every one off? huckleberry finn was mentioned, he reflects the attiude of the majority of people of that time - - especially i think of the uneducated people. most of the classics i have read also reflected life as it was - then - all this doesn't answer the question asked "what would i change in a classic ? nothing.... if it is a classic it has a reason to be the way it is, it has earned its way. many things i have read i would think, gee i wish it had been like this..........but then you are tampering with someone's work. if the dog hadn't stopped to ---- then things would be different. let me put it this way to the men, would you take a truly classic car and chop it and change it ? it wouldn't be a classic any more. of course i don't like stereotyping, prejudice, bigotry and all those bad things - - - but i have been able to put myself in the time and circumstances the author was writing about. so what is my point ? if it ain't broke don't fix it !!!!!

-- ici jongleur (, January 03, 2000.

I think by mentioning how slave families are separated from each other, and having Huck merely think that it's unpleasant, rather than unacceptible, Twain is letting us know that the attitude reflected by the majority of people is wrong. He also has that scene where the one gentleman holds off the angry mob with a pistol, and calls them all cowards, he is again letting us know that the majority is wrong. Everyone knows the scene where Huck vows to rescue Jim, even if it means losing his own soul. Huck's saving grace is that he is able to go against his upbringing, unlike the majority.

-- Mike (, January 04, 2000.

i think improve in this sense and classic, constitute an oxymoron. the taj mahal is a classic, some cars are classics, many pieces of art are classics. how could any one improve bach's, "ode to joy - (jesu joy of man's desiring) that soaring, spiraling, ever ascending glory of intertwining praise that truly lifts one up to the heavens?

-- bast ion (, January 15, 2000.

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