'What do you think?’ Let me tell you:discourse about texts and the literature classroom


This article examines the practice of studying texts in secondary school English lessons as a particular type of reading experience. Through a critical stylistic analysis of a popular edition of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, the article explores how reading the text is framed by educational editions, and how this might present the purpose of studying fiction to students. The article draws on two cognitive linguistic concepts – figure/ground configuration and narrative schemas - in order to explore how ‘discourse about a text’ (Mason, 2016) can potentially influence how students read and engage with a text. Building on a previous article (Giovanelli and Mason, 2015), the notion of pre-figuring is developed to offer an account of how a reader’s attention can be directed to particular elements of a text, thus privileging some interpretations and downplaying others. The article then reflects more widely on the perceived purposes of studying fiction with young people, exploring in particular the recent rise of support within the profession in England for Hirsch’s (1988) ‘cultural literacy’ model, which sees knowledge about texts as more valuable than authentic reading and personal response.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1358684X.2016.1276397
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, publishing as Taylor & Francis.
Publication ISSN: 1469-3585
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 07:16
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2017 14:55
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Related URLs: http://www.tand ... 4X.2016.1276397 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-12-04
Published Online Date: 2017-12-04
Accepted Date: 2017-04-01
Authors: Mason, Jessica
Giovanelli, Marcello (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8470-3800)



Version: Accepted Version

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