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How to Write a Book Report

2006-05-08 08:51

  Book reports can help learners improve their reading comprehension and enhance their ability to analyze the story and the characters. Generally speaking, a book report is usually composed of three major parts. They are:

  information about the writer (his name, the books he has published, the years of his birth and death, the publisher of the book)

  a summary of the book (the story and main characters)

  some comments on the book (personal interpretation of the meaning of the book)

  When giving the information about the writer, the learner writer should include some historical and social background to which the book is related. To make things clear, the learner writer should read some reference materials, such as biographies of the writer and histories of the period in which the book was written.

  A book report should contain a summary of the book under discussion. The summary should be concise, clear and easy to understand. The learner writer should make sure that the summary be subjective and center on the major theme of the book. As for the tense of the book report, it depends on the subject matter of the book. If it is a novel or a play or a science fiction, the present tense is more appropriate while the past tense is required for nonfiction such as history books.

  The third part and also the most important part of a book report is the comment. In this part, the learner writer's job is to evaluate the book according to his or her own personal interpretation and discuss the merits (优点) and demerits (缺点) of the book, the social and/or historical significance of the book. If the learner writer is competent enough to discuss the writing style of the author, he or she should feel free to do so.

  _________________A Sample

  Sons and Lovers is a novel written by David Herbert Lawrence and it was first published in 1913 in London by Wyman & Sons.

  D. H. Lawrence was born at Eastwood, Notts, on September 11, 1885, the fourth child of a miner who had been employed at Brinsley Colliery since he was 7 years old. In 1911, his first novel The White Peacock was published.

  Sons and Lovers is divided into two parts and is composed of 15 chapters altogether. the story, set in England, can be interpreted as an autobiographical novel of Lawrence. The hero of the book, Paul Morel, is the second son of a miner's family. His mother, Mrs. Morel, is a daughter of a mid-class family. Because of the differences in family background and education, a shadow is soon cast upon the married life of Mrs. Morel. And this shadow is darkened by Mr. Morel's laziness and alcoholism. By misfortune or bad luck, Mr. Morel has an accident and becomes a cripple, which changes him into a man of bad temper. As a result, the couple shares less and less the things in common and is driven farther and farther apart from each other. Little by little, Mrs. Morel transports her attention and love to her children, especially her two sons, William and Paul. She encourages them to leave the small mining region for a big city to find opportunities for a better life. After the death of her first son, William, because of hard work and pneumonia, Mrs. Morel's divided attention and love is poured completely upon Paul. The mother's abnormal love robs Paul of his normal love for his girl friend.

  Sons and Lovers has always been claimed since its publication to be another version of Oedipus complex*. But D. H. Lawrence is in no sense an imitator. Sons and Lovers is truly an autobiographical novel. It describes an ordinary life of a coal miner's family. The abnormal love from the mother deprives Paul of his independent personality and mental health. It is perhaps because of this true picture of life that the novel has won Lawrence everlasting reputation.

  Oedipus complex: (psych) love of an infant for the parent of the opposite sex, with jealousy of the other parent. The term originated from a Greek myth in which King Oedipus killed his father and married his mother.(心理学上)(儿子对母亲的)恋母情结(及对父亲的嫉妒);(女儿对父亲的)恋父情结(及对母亲的嫉妒)

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