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Author Topic: Opinions please: passage for English  (Read 699 times)

Offline moss

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Opinions please: passage for English
« on: September 06, 2015, 06:04:48 PM »
hi pals. i am taking, as my friend calls it, "a disgusting english class" and we have to do a 4 minute performance of a "formal literary text" that we like. we weren't given any guidelines on what kind of thing to pick, so i've tried to find some things that i at least like and can kind of make sense by themselves?? idk it's hard. basically what i want is if you could read these and tell me what you would think if you were sitting in a class and heard someone present these texts? like which one makes most sense for people who haven't read the whole books? what feels more significant out of context?

all of these are from Kokoro or I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki because most other books that i've read recently have been non-fiction, children's books or too long ago that i don't remember enough about them to be able to find a good passage y'know...

Kokoro context: the protagonist is a university student who befriends an old man he calls Sensei that he wants to learn lessons about life from

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I Am a Cat context: satire about intellectualism/academia and human society/nature in meiji era japan

(i had to type these all from my book by hand so sorry if there's any mis-typings)

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Offline Tom

Re: Opinions please: passage for English
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015, 11:04:56 PM »
Your friends sound like maths friends and maths friends are so mean. English and Humanities are clearly amazing courses )':

I'm at work and almost finished with lunch but wanted to have a read and a think and provide my five cents' worth.

That first excerpt from Kokoro, even out of context, was absolutely stunning. The subject matter is a little depressing but the actual delivery is so thoughtful and eloquent it makes me melt instead of wanting to cry. The second excerpt also paints really nice imagery but it is a tiny bit harder to relate to out of context. Either way I now want to read Kokoro xD

Satirical text is like.. my spirit animal, but it can be really difficult to express ideas from a satirical context in such a short amount of time. Throwback to my high school life when I did a project on the use of language in a satirical text and was later approached by a counsellor because my teacher thought I was depressed based on the choice of text...

Anyway, I digress... I find it tends to be difficult for an audience to relate to deeper, more philosophical messages from satirical contexts. On that basis I would probably lean towards the nose speech from the I am a Cat excerpts.

That said, a lot comes down to your delivery and the audience, and I know that you're a great speaker and at the college level, your audience would be pretty intelligent.

So imho, tl;dr version: I would sway towards the suicide letter from Kokoro and the nose speech from I am a Cat. But they're all amazing texts (which I now want to read) and you should go for the one you connect with most.  :D

The other option would be reading choice Firejerk vs. Robot!Tigerstar scenes.



thanks vegas for the avatar, moss for the blinkie & darksight for the signature

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Offline Spellmaster

Re: Opinions please: passage for English
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2015, 01:59:01 AM »
I keep forgetting to look for these books at the bookstore... I don't even know if the bookstore would have them but

anyway it's difficult to say without knowing the full context of the assignment, but since it seems you weren't given that much context to begin with, some general thoughts:

the kokoro ones would probably be pretty easy to follow since they're basically monologues, and I found them understandable without any backstory. of the two I'd lean toward the first I think, just because it seems a little more... complete, in and of itself? though the second one, the way sensei feels the need to write but can't seem to do it... #relatable

the second I am a cat passage functions pretty well as a complete story, so there's that too. the third one is also interesting but might be more challenging for a verbal performance because so much of it is dialogue switching off without narration? (though if you're not like me and you're good at doing voices, that might not be a problem)

I think the nose one would be my last choice simply because all the science talk may be a little much to take in all at once. it's comical, which might draw in interest, but even if understanding the dude's theory isn't the actual point of the passage all the big words made me start to gloss over it, and I'm even worse at listening than reading so I'd worry the complexity might make it harder to focus on (especially if the class is listening to a whole bunch of these in a row; I know well the temptation to zone out during presentations)

final thought: why is japanese literature (still) so obsessed with suicide

Offline Tom

Re: Opinions please: passage for English
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2015, 03:40:20 AM »
Spellmaster is actually so right about the nose monologue. I loved it because I'm a bit of a dork and could completely understand where it was coming from, but perhaps it might be a bit hard to keep up with in that format.

I still stick by my previous opinion about the I am a Cat texts. Like, they sound like they're totally up my alley personally and I want to read it but satire can be difficult to relate to.

so basically vote: Sensei's suicide letter. I just got home and read it again, and I think I love it. I'm going to go and buy these books this week.


Incidentally @Spellmaster - Penguin Classics have done Kokoro, and Tuttle Classics have done I am a Cat. I think these are the versions I'm going to hunt for (unless moss has any other suggestions :D).



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Offline moss

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Re: Opinions please: passage for English
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2015, 06:57:36 AM »
Thanks for your thoughts guys!

And yes these books are really great definitely read them!!! Those are the versions of the books I have, scary. There's also another kokoro translation by an Edwin something that I haven't read but I'm sure it's also good. But the penguin version is probably easier to come across since it's newer.

Offline Spellmaster

Re: Opinions please: passage for English
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2015, 12:55:54 AM »
ooh handy dandy amazon links... yeah, I was thinking it would probably be easier to just order them online, especially since there's already another book that I can't find in stores anyway (why would you carry the first seven books in a series and not the eighth... wat are u doin barnes and noble)

but anyway some of these passages reminded me of some of the things we read in my japanese lit classes -- Norwegian Wood was the first that came to mind, I think, and that was one of the few books that I actually wanted to keep, so I get the feeling I would like them. if I can just remember to buy them......