53 pages 1 hour read

Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 2007

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Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Consider the ways in which literature transforms Her Majesty’s opinion and worldview. Which particular texts are important in shaping her views? How does Her Majesty’s transformation mirror or challenge your response from the Personal Connection Prompt?

Teaching Suggestion:

You might consider having students begin by brainstorming connections from the text with the theme The Power of the Written Word, as literature is a catalyst for Her Majesty’s development as a critically thinking individual. Her love of reading organically segues into an interest in writing, which changes her worldview on her role in society. It is interesting to note that The Power of the Written Word is not powerful enough for her to personally change the system itself; rather, it is enough for her to step down from her role to pursue her own passions.

As an extension, students might discuss ways in which this is evident in the final scene where the Queen also agrees that The Duty of the Monarch implies an impartiality from which her forthcoming novel would divert; therefore, the obvious answer is she must step down from her role as monarch in order to pursue reading, as opposed to publishing a book while remaining in power. In this vein, change of the overall system must come from all people pursuing the humanities and collectively challenging the old traditions with their new forms of thought.

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By Alan Bennett