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  • From: "Lindsay Morton" <lindsaymlac.school.nz>
  • To: <secondaryenglishmailinglist.tki.org.nz>
  • Subject: [Secondary English] RE: ww2 texts: a stroppy reader and writer responds....
  • Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 08:02:46 +1200

While this might sound like I'm defending the book (actually I agree very
much with Tania), last year I had to study it for a Kid Lit paper at Masters
level. There was really nothing I enjoyed or found challenging about the book
on first reading, but analysis in the context of power structures between the
characters turned up some interesting conclusions.

And while our students aren't going to be analysing the writing style too
closely, there's definitely value there in exploring the relationships
between each of the characters in the book, but particularly Bruno and the
minor (marginalised) characters in terms of power. I'm guessing most people
see this novel's value in the ending, but if I was teaching it I'd
concentrate more on who holds the power, how they get the power, and get the
kids to reflect on how power works in their own families/friendship
groups...and if I was brave...in marginalised groups at school.
(Hmm...sounding a bit like 'The Wave'???) To me, the book is pedestrian in
many ways, but looking at it from this perspective is *gulp* actually very
interesting - and valuable.

Lindsay Morton

Longburn Adventist College

PO Box 14001

Longburn 4866

Manawatua New Zealand

-----Original Message-----
From: Lynne Gardiner
Sent: Wed 2/06/2010 10:06 PM
Subject: RE: [Secondary English] ww2 texts: a stroppy reader and writer

I couldn't agree with you more Tania... I found both the book and the film
trite, contrived and predictable. My then 16 yr old daughter agreed. There
are so many better books out there to study.
I have taught "Letters form the Coffin Trenches" to my Yr 11 CEN class..this
year and it certainly sparked some thought about the 'glory" compared to the
reality of war... and who the real enemy may have been.

I do love your contributions for their.. always slight irreverance... keep
them coming.

Lynne Gardiner, BA, Dip Ed, Dip Tching.

Director International Students

Sacred Heart College

250 West Tamaki Rd, Glendowie

Auckland, New Zealand 1071

Phone: 029 200 8993

Fax: 64-9-5293661


Website: www.sacredheart.school.nz


From: Phillip Roxborogh
Sent: Wed 2/06/2010 9:42 p.m.
Subject: [Secondary English] ww2 texts: a stroppy reader and writer

What I have found interesting, as I have moved from beautiful young teacher
(lol) to wise older mother (hen) is that, in the twenty years in between,
there has been a shift in attitude toward this terrible story. Thanks to
authors and filmmakers, we get a really vivid portrayal of that terrible
time. My own grandfather (and father-in law) suffered through WW2 in North
Africa and Egypt but I've since become friends with people whose fathers were
in those terrible camps. God, I don't know how they managed to come back in
one piece.

Personally, I dislike Boy In The Stripped PJ;s - as did my own (then 12 year
old - what a stupid ending!). As a reader and a writer, I have a
philosophical problem with killing off the main character (I want happy
endings people!!!) which is why I was so upset at the end of Libba Bray's
latest (Going Bovine. - but, seriously, Tania, if the blurb says the main
character has mad cow disease, why could you think anything else might
happpen????). At least Libba Bray doesn't try to pretend it is all sweet and

As a teacher, I am David and The Wave ignite much more thought. Why would
you: travel so far and so long? risk your career? choose to do bad things?'

Boy in the Stripped PJ's, IMHO does not ignite such thoughts for the young.
Yes, for you and I who have seen and read all manner of literature of the
holocaust. Throw out Z for Zac and Striped PJs but keep the others which
niggled away at our consciousness.

My daughter's teacher studied The Wave with the class last year and now I
have a vehementily arduous young woman who is currently P***seed at Israel
for its treatment of those aboard that boat. She's angry and this mother will
not stand in her way while she considers her latest task: have we really

There. Said my piece.

Tania Roxborogh

who is: humble teacher, mother and sometime recognised author *grin*


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