Attention spans then and now

by Andrea Elizabeth

It is so sad to learn about Richard’s downfall in Bleak House. Dickens seems to blame his liberal arts education for not preparing him to be able to apply himself to hard work. That implies that liberal arts aren’t hard. I disagree. I believe that the demands of a disciplined degree require one to apply onesself more diligently than is done in one’s youth, no matter what field, medicine, law, business, sports, dancing, or liberal arts. He seems to suffer more from attention deficit disorder in that he can’t keep his mind on one thing. Perhaps one can get by with that in lower grades, but it seems his education did lack by not making him stick to something after it got boring. Initially one can skip through to the exciting parts, but to be proficient at anything, one has to have a pretty determined work ethic, through thick or thin. Stephen King will even tell you that in his On Writing. It’s interesting to hear that 19th century young people had the same problem when one hears about how TV and video games are responsible for low attention spans in today’s youth. In addition to the problem of attention spans, one review I read says that Richard placed all his hope in the court settlement just as some place all their hope in the lottery today. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

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