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Monday, February 27, 2012

Lengthiness of Chapters Often Not Needed

Chapter Four of  The Shallows was necessary for the points that Carr wanted to make, however, the length and depth of the topics was somewhat unnecessary. Some of the random splurges of information that Carr gave was interesting and informative, but he should have ended the discussion of those things there, rather than going on and on about facts of ancient forms of writing. I do have to admit though, that some of the things that Carr brought up were things that I had never thought of before, for I have never thought of the idea that people at one time thought reading silently was a strange concept. These small facts would have made the chapter much more interesting had they not have been drawn out and described in much more detail than what I wanted, or needed to hear. The new bits of information brought out in this chapter were the highlights of the reading, for without them, it would have seemed like a chapter simply used to take up space in the book, and fill a few pages.

I understand the points that Carr was trying to make. He wanted us as readers to think about his statement that books are a form of technology by showing how writing has evolved over the years. Also, he wanted us to see his point that as these new forms of writing and reading have come about, people’s brains have had to master and adapt to them. However, what confused me was that in the past chapters, he often brought up examples mounting to the fact that people simply cannot concentrate on books like they used to, but he seems to backtrack on this statement by saying in chapter four that people’s brains were never used to concentrating on books, that is, in ancient times, people could never just simply sit and read a book silently. It was as though Carr was saying that as technology came about, people’s minds went back to the way they were in the ancient times, with one’s mind not being able to concentrate on reading silently to oneself. I could not help but wonder if Carr was trying to say that with the technology, the human brain has gone back to the way it was before there were such things as lengthy books and novels.

                Though his point seemed a little blurry and misrepresented, what I drew from chapter four of The Shallows was that Carr was trying to say that the mind today is more simple than it was before technology, just like the minds of those in ancient times were before the introduction of printed books. However, this idea goes against what Carr had said in earlier chapters, for he stated that the mind is “constantly rewiring itself to adapt” and if this is so, the mind would probably be much more complex, for it would have to adapt to the ever-changing ideas of technology. Chapter fours lengthiness seemed to not only confuse me, but it also seemed to have backtracked, for it went against many ideas that Carr strongly presented in earlier parts of his book.
By: Meagan Cox

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