How Can Ransom Riggs Make You a Better Literature StudentMarch 15, 2019

The (school) year is barely a month old, which means you have time for reading a book that is not included in your reading list. If you like the genre, if not the author, then you can read two or three books before Easter Day (or ANZAC Day). A heavy reader can read more, and you foresee reading more titles by the side. If you're studying literature, then Ransom Riggs can help you in understanding other authors and their works, as well as other genres. If you're not a student of the English Department, then it doesn't make any difference. You need a diversion. Reading is the best option, and you would forget the demands of the coursework (after walking on foggy Cairnholm). Sounds fun, isn't it?

You might wonder why not a local author. A good question, yet it remains to be seen if Riggs will pen a novel about peculiar people in Australia. The events in his current series are set all over America, and those who read "A Map of Days" would compare the South to the Wild West. You imagine Jacob Portman looking for a loophole in the Outback, but you can indulge in it later. It's about time to look at this subject in a serious note (before you're about to think of a premise on peculiar children in Down Under).

What's so special about the peculiar children? The answer lies in the next section. If you're a Literature student, then you might be delighted at what you're about to read. If you're not, then you would enjoy the journey.

5 Lessons from the Greats

London in popular culture. You mother may not recall a module while you wonder why there's frequent mention of New York (in popular culture). Why not Sydney, you ask. It's better to address one matter at a time, and let's start with the last. You may not have checked all the optional modules, and it's possible that there's a module on Sydney in popular culture. If you don't find one, then you can cite Australia's biggest city in your assignments. (You must make sure that Sydney is the setting of the written text.) New York is the next item; you'll get a chance to discuss the Big Apple. As a matter of fact, several chapters of "A Map of Days" take place in New York City decades ago. (There's a loophole in one of the cheaper hotels, but describing it would be a spoiler. And you might not have turned on the cover page.) New York might make another appearance in the sequel to "A Map of Days", but you must focus on London first. There's so much to write about the British capital, and the first three books would hint of social reform. It should make you curious about Charles Dickens and his notable works on young lads from humble backgrounds. It should make you think twice about learning about the dark side of Victorian society, but your curiosity would prompt you to meander the Internet for an hour or two. There's no need to take notes, as your interest (or enthusiasm) on Riggs's novels would make you recall it later. And you don't have to wait long. Modern literature, anyone?

Prose satire. The first ten chapters of "Hollow City" described the peculiar children's meeting with talking animals. It wasn't a novel concept, yet the description of the surrounding would make you recall "Gulliver's Travels". Jonathan Swift's masterpiece is a prose satire, a compulsory module that you must study sooner. (And you would run out of excuses on not wanting to enroll in it during your first year.) In fact, satire is one of the things that keep mediocrity from bay. You can learn a great deal from it if you're curious about it. And your paper writing skills would improve tremendously.

British history. Another loophole is found in the cemetery beneath Saint Paul's Cathedral, where Jacob and his mates find themselves in a deserted English community during the latter part of the Victorian period. You may not be interested in it, as Riggs's description of the place would be far from the sunny, laid-back side that you would call home. History binds Great Britain and Australia, though. Your interest would help you write your subsequent essays with ease and confidence. (British literature is mandatory.) And it can guide you in writing a paper on local work. (Most local books, if not all, are linked to the past.)

Young-adult fiction. You have a coursemate, if not a flatmate, who has read all five books. (The history of peculiar people is included.) And you think Miss Peregrine and her wards would achieve literary immortality. It wouldn't be right to compare the peculiar children to Harry Potter (and the rest of the Hogwards students), yet it could be a fun exercise. It might be a waste of time to wait for such an opportunity, if not press your professor (on writing about it). You must be familiar with the best works and the best authors (in that particular genre), and Riggs's books would make you leap from one genre to another.

Fantasy. You know this genre too well. (If you haven't read Tolkien's books, then you might be living under the rock.) It would be best to mention the peculiar children in passing while writing an essay on another notable title under this genre. You can ask your professor (if it's possible to write a paper on them), but these kids don't have a place in contemporary modules.

Your Travels and Meaningful Encounters

Travelling is a consistent theme in all five books, which should make you excited about the coursework. Most stories have that sense of place, which you can't ignore at all. There's a link with the other genres (which are discussed in the previous section). If your curiosity is piqued once more, then you can look for other titles related to the other genres. It would get you ahead, which gives you more time to prepare for the examination period.

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