I hate analyzing books

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zenten
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I hate analyzing books

Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:32 pm UTC

I don't mean I dislike having to write an essay on something, and take it apart. That's not to bad if I don't like the book in the first place.

What I hate is that I then learn those skills, and start unconsciously doing it on books I'm reading. It totally ruins it for me. I read a book for the story, not to see how a story is put together. It's like learning about film making, and thus getting annoyed every time you see how a shot was done, or what method of they used to produce a special effect.

Basically, I'm complaining about literary analysis ruining my suspension of disbelief.

Am I the only one like this?

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Postby antonfire » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:20 pm UTC

I'm like this too. Same for some other people I know. High school English class has ruined literature for me forever.
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Postby Gadren » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:52 pm UTC

Likewise... sure, I ended up reading books I wouldn't have read otherwise, but it killed my inner book-lover. That's one of the reasons I'm glad I AP'ed out of a lot of the English courses at college... now that I'm in a professional writing class, literature isn't being ruined by "analyzing the syntax, diction, and tone, and its effect upon the passage." :evil:

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Postby Jesse » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:17 pm UTC

Not for me. I found that both English Literature and Film Studies has instead allowed me to enjoy it more. If I go see a generic Hollywood film, or read a Tom Clancy novel, I put aside my analysing aspect and enjoy it for what it is, but if I'm watching 'Hero' or reading Lolita, then I can bring out my analytical side and enjoy them more from that perspective.

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Postby Belial » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:39 pm UTC

I have much the same experience as Jesse* (and similar educational background, albeit only a few videography and film classes), except I tend to do both at once. The appreciation for the craft that goes into a novel or film tends to be running sort of parallel to the appreciation of the story, and they both add to the experience.

*Largely because we emerged from the same clone vat.

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Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:44 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:Not for me. I found that both English Literature and Film Studies has instead allowed me to enjoy it more. If I go see a generic Hollywood film, or read a Tom Clancy novel, I put aside my analysing aspect and enjoy it for what it is, but if I'm watching 'Hero' or reading Lolita, then I can bring out my analytical side and enjoy them more from that perspective.


See, I can't put things aside like that. What's more, I end up not being able to really be taken away by any story with all these details grounding me to the fact it's just a book.

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Postby Jesse » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:47 pm UTC

I couldn't at first, but after about six months I was able to reconcile the two sides.

I am not really sure what to suggest.

Also, Jordan, I am never going to get used to us being the same person.

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Postby Clerria » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:58 pm UTC

I find that this same attitude will pervasively find its way into all other areas of your life.

I can't read a book without overanalyzing the story and criticizing the author,

I can't watch a commercial without thinking they could have hired better actors,

I can't watch a movie without analyzing it on like 5 different facets (Granted, if they pass all my criteria, it'll be one hell of a movie)

And before you know it, you will be judging people based on a broad variety of criteria as well. Join the club.

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Postby ArchangelShrike » Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:11 pm UTC

I have that analytical problem as well, having a tendency to break things down quickly, but the trick is to suspend the disbelief to a greater level/more quickly. It does hurt to be able to see the ending coming a mile away, but usually you won't know how it's done so I try to enjoy that instead of the story (because every story is a rehash of every story done already, including the Eye of Argon.)

Dating a film student doesn't help the overly analytical side, as being told what every shot and technique means, and then somehow remembering it in the middle of a average movie means there are more clues as to what will come next. For those superb movies however, it's all still a haze that's fun to wander through.

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Postby zenten » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:44 pm UTC

My fiancee gets mad at me for giving spoilers (during commercial breaks, or between episodes and whatnot) of TV shows I'm watching for the first time with her, just because I understand the genre of the show. I would love it if my own brain wasn't spoiling it for me.

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Postby SecondTalon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:52 pm UTC

I do the same thing. I'm always happy when what I predicted doesn't turn out to be true, and it's not because of some stupid last minute thing that came out of nowhere, leaving it unpredictable, but when my prediction isn't true because I rejected the obvious answer...because it's never the obvious answer (except when it is)
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Re: I hate analyzing books

Postby sunkistbabe1 » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:56 pm UTC

zenten wrote:I don't mean I dislike having to write an essay on something, and take it apart. That's not to bad if I don't like the book in the first place.


I'm with you. I read a book for the pure enjoyment of the story. Over analyzing anything just ruins it for me.

Same thing with movies. Which is why I never read critics reviews on movies, tv shows or books.

However, some books or even tv shows might have a lot of intricacies that discussion with other fans might add to the enjoyment. I haven't read Davinci Code yet (For an example). Hubby has and he's described some of the things to me, and I look forward to reading the illustrated copy he bought. It sounds like there is a lot of detail in there into mythology etc that might make for interesting discussions.

But I would just prefer to read a book and enjoy it than analyze the protagonist and antagonist and whether or not anything is 'believable' :)
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Postby Amicitia » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:09 pm UTC

If you like a book, isn't it nice to know why you like it?

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Postby Malice » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:01 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:Not for me. I found that both English Literature and Film Studies has instead allowed me to enjoy it more. If I go see a generic Hollywood film, or read a Tom Clancy novel, I put aside my analysing aspect and enjoy it for what it is, but if I'm watching 'Hero' or reading Lolita, then I can bring out my analytical side and enjoy them more from that perspective.


Agreed. Well, mostly. I don't usually put my analysing all the way away, even when reading Michael Crichton or watching Snakes on a Plane. For me, the story of a film and the way the film is made (or the story of a book and the way the book is written) are both entirely viable ways of getting enjoyment and entertainment.

For example, I just reread High Fidelity, and some of the joy of it comes from the emotional content of the story, the way the humor and melancholy mix; but some of the joy comes from the literary content of the story, the way certain themes mix or the way a certain sentence will have me in awe not so much because of what it says as the way it says it.

Reading a great book is kinda like appreciating a great clock. You listen to it tick. Then you take it apart to see what makes it tick, and once you understand it inside and out, you put it back together. Then the ticking sounds even better.

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Postby Jesse » Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:06 pm UTC

Malice, if only you could get past your dislike of Gaiman, it is quite possible we could get married.

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Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:50 pm UTC

In the overrated books thread, but my response seems more appropriate here.

SecondTalon wrote:It could be the way that I (and apparently others) were taught symbolism in Literature... that the Authors were intentionally leaving symbolic clues for everything, so that a short story about a lonely man going to town once a month for supplies and growing fond of a woman, only to have her die as they're just heading out on their first date becomes the Author's take on Capitalism and Communism in 1910s Russia, simply because the Author was Polish and wrote it in 1916.


The thing is, many of the canonical authors were doing exactly that. I admit that it's often taken too far, but that doesn't negate the fact that, for instance, Dante really did use all kinds of symbolism and allegory in what I like to call Afterlife: The Trilogy.*

The overall process of reading The Classics does make some sense, in my mind, if only because the authors of later Classics, having generally had a liberal arts education themselves, read the earlier Classics during their own upbringing. As such, you can see the evolution of themes and ideas as they're passed from one writer to another. Which I find to be an interesting benefit of reading these books in the context of a single class. (Granted, when I say "reading" here, I reall mean "skimming and then listening to the professor's summary of". But still, the connections between Great Books are pretty interesting.)

* I don't actually "like to" call it that, in the sense of that being something I frequently call it for my own enjoyment, as this is the first time I've ever referred to the Divine Comedy in quite that way.
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Postby Amicitia » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:50 am UTC

That's why you take a great books curriculum. Duh.

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Postby Belial » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:14 am UTC

(because every story is a rehash of every story done already, including the Eye of Argon.)


I hate it when people say that. It's only true if you boil every story down to a single, vague-as-possible paragraph.

Which just means that every *kind* of story has been done. But the variations and twists are what make things interesting.
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Postby une see » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:01 am UTC

Jesster wrote:Malice, if only you could get past your dislike of Gaiman, it is quite possible we could get married.


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Postby Pebbles » Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:14 am UTC

I think knowledge about how something is put together is a great thing. Being aware of how a text makes you feel a certain way is I think important. It only sometimes gets in the way of enjoying a text for me. Like for my HSC I studied both The Castle (aust comedy movie) and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, I ended up loving The Castle even more and hating Brave New World. Id read it before, and seen The Castle before.. but the act of analysing and taking the texts apart ruined one and made the other better.
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Postby Malice » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:02 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:Malice, if only you could get past your dislike of Gaiman, it is quite possible we could get married.


Hm... Well, okay.

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Postby william » Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:11 pm UTC

Obviously, the answer is brainwashing Malice to like Gaiman.
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Postby dagron » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:13 am UTC

I never picked up the skill for analyzing books. Just one reason I hated literature classes with a passion. It always seemed like authors were supposedly leaving all these subtle clues and symbols that never added to anything to the story. I read books/watch movies because I enjoy getting lost in a story, and really don't need to be dissecting it.

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Postby taggedunion » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:09 am UTC

English class ruined me a little as far as looking at the subtext of everything, something that annoys even my friends at times (or especially my friends?).

But I do enjoy the ability to pick things apart. I just wish that sometimes I could turn it off and not do it automatically.

I appear to have zenten's problem of being really good at figuring out plots--which makes things rather boring sometimes. I do appreciate a movie or book in which I'm completely shocked--of course, the book/movie has to properly set up the ending, no deus ex machina, etc. Unfortunately, not many things do that. Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" did that for me (but then, I was young). "The Machinist" was pretty good for that, but that movie was *fucked*--I had no idea what the hell was going on. Oh, and I really liked Harry Potter for keeping me guessing but delivering satisfying endings.

But sometimes I just get a movie with actors from the set {Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughan, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler}, sit back, and enjoy.

Except Dodgeball. That was a satire of the underdog story if I've ever seen one. Did anyone notice at the end what the words on the treasure chest said? (And holy shit! Did "I'm a Mac" get that cheerleader pregnant? WTF! Why did they even stick that into the movie?)
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Postby Malice » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:51 am UTC

william wrote:Obviously, the answer is brainwashing Malice to like Gaiman.


I like Gaiman. I own/have read Neverwhere, half of Sandman (so far), American Gods, Good Omens, Smoke and Mirrors, and I've seen Mirrormask. He's enjoyable, and worth reading, if mostly for the power of his ideas despite the way in which he conveys them. I simply think he's not as good as some other authors who write in somewhat similar ways, and not nearly as good as most of his fans think he is.

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Postby Narsil » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:34 pm UTC

That's an opinion, you can't prove that.
I would say he's definitely above pulp fantasy level, but he's not a revolutionary writer. The man's got talent, is all I'm saying, and while he's not the greatest writer ever, he's much more talented than many on the shelves today.

That's an opinion, you can't prove that.

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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:41 pm UTC

I am able to not analyse books that I read for pleasure. This may be because of my ability to "analyse" for hundreds of words on the same subject, given an hour or two - when I read for reading, I read to fast to also be in analyse-to-death mode.

Also, when I am watching film with other people in the room (eg cinema, at home with more than one person), sometimes I briefly 'pull back' from the film and look at the people, which doesn't break my immersion too much, after I continue watching again for a short time.
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Postby semicolon » Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:51 pm UTC

I actually never finished American Gods. I got kind of bored with it.

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Postby zenten » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:32 pm UTC

Amicitia wrote:If you like a book, isn't it nice to know why you like it?


No, because that will only tell me why I liked it, as I will no longer like it as much anymore.

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Postby Amicitia » Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:07 am UTC

If you knew how a story was going to end, but it was beautifully written, would there be any reason to put down the book? Personally, I can sympathize that one can analyze a book and ruin the ending prematurely, but any book that places that much emphasis on suspense should be pretty damn good at it.

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Postby Nyarlathotep » Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:18 am UTC

Malice wrote:
william wrote:Obviously, the answer is brainwashing Malice to like Gaiman.


I like Gaiman. I own/have read Neverwhere, half of Sandman (so far), American Gods, Good Omens, Smoke and Mirrors, and I've seen Mirrormask. He's enjoyable, and worth reading, if mostly for the power of his ideas despite the way in which he conveys them. I simply think he's not as good as some other authors who write in somewhat similar ways, and not nearly as good as most of his fans think he is.


So, you like Gaiman, but like gaiman =/= ZOMG RABID GAIMAN FANBOI LULZ

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Postby Jesse » Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:03 am UTC

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Postby zenten » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:01 pm UTC

Amicitia wrote:If you knew how a story was going to end, but it was beautifully written, would there be any reason to put down the book? Personally, I can sympathize that one can analyze a book and ruin the ending prematurely, but any book that places that much emphasis on suspense should be pretty damn good at it.


It's not just knowing how it will end though. It's seeing it no longer as a story, but instead seeing all the cracks between. Its like watching a really good play, and then all the sudden you start figuring out what materials are used for the setting, and where people are flubbing their lines but catching it, and how their costumes aren't quite period, and whatnot. If I didn't know as much about theater I could have enjoyed the play, but instead I'm left seeing all the mistakes.

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Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:51 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
Amicitia wrote:If you knew how a story was going to end, but it was beautifully written, would there be any reason to put down the book? Personally, I can sympathize that one can analyze a book and ruin the ending prematurely, but any book that places that much emphasis on suspense should be pretty damn good at it.


It's not just knowing how it will end though. It's seeing it no longer as a story, but instead seeing all the cracks between. Its like watching a really good play, and then all the sudden you start figuring out what materials are used for the setting, and where people are flubbing their lines but catching it, and how their costumes aren't quite period, and whatnot. If I didn't know as much about theater I could have enjoyed the play, but instead I'm left seeing all the mistakes.


I think that's your own problem, Zen. Most of the theater people I know like watching other productions of things, partly because they know the behind-the-scenes stuff that went into it. They can understand and respect the incredible hidden skill that's completely lost on the typical ignorant audience member.

Or take magicians. I've never practiced a trick (apart from a couple simple card tricks) to the point where I'd actually be very good at performing it in front of other people. But I have read how enough tricks are done to be able to understand a lot of what's going on at a magic show. Sure, I *could* just prefer to turn off my brain and not ruin the "magic" of it. But I in fact much prefer understanding how fucking hard it is to do one of those tricks well. No, I'm not going to be a dick and tell everyone sitting around me how it's done, but personally, it adds something to the enjoyment of human endeavor to have some understanding of just how much endeavor went into it.
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Postby I_Ate_My_Children » Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:01 pm UTC

Probably the worst essay I have written, is on the book I love the most. Is it the same for anyone here?

When I really like books it is because of some reason I can't put into words, the same with music. Why reading books for something you can put into words anyway. (The same with music. Music starts where words end - Beethoven)
So when I read a very good book, my entire focus is on that thing that has no name, and when I'm supposed to write an essay/article... I can't really say anything, can't remember clearly anything except the good... stuff... that has no name or definition.

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Postby SecondTalon » Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:48 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Or take magicians. I've never practiced a trick (apart from a couple simple card tricks) to the point where I'd actually be very good at performing it in front of other people. But I have read how enough tricks are done to be able to understand a lot of what's going on at a magic show. Sure, I *could* just prefer to turn off my brain and not ruin the "magic" of it. But I in fact much prefer understanding how fucking hard it is to do one of those tricks well. No, I'm not going to be a dick and tell everyone sitting around me how it's done, but personally, it adds something to the enjoyment of human endeavor to have some understanding of just how much endeavor went into it.


Like Teller of Penn and Teller explaining a magic trick for magicians - SPOILER ALERT:Teller speaks

It's good to know how it's done, but sometimes if the other guy knows you know how it's done, he'll fuck with you just because he can.

So, yes.. it's okay to analyze books, simply because you might run in to the author who wrote a book specifically to be analyzed so he could fuck with you later.
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Postby Amicitia » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:01 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
zenten wrote:
Amicitia wrote:If you knew how a story was going to end, but it was beautifully written, would there be any reason to put down the book? Personally, I can sympathize that one can analyze a book and ruin the ending prematurely, but any book that places that much emphasis on suspense should be pretty damn good at it.


It's not just knowing how it will end though. It's seeing it no longer as a story, but instead seeing all the cracks between. Its like watching a really good play, and then all the sudden you start figuring out what materials are used for the setting, and where people are flubbing their lines but catching it, and how their costumes aren't quite period, and whatnot. If I didn't know as much about theater I could have enjoyed the play, but instead I'm left seeing all the mistakes.


I think that's your own problem, Zen. Most of the theater people I know like watching other productions of things, partly because they know the behind-the-scenes stuff that went into it. They can understand and respect the incredible hidden skill that's completely lost on the typical ignorant audience member.

Or take magicians. I've never practiced a trick (apart from a couple simple card tricks) to the point where I'd actually be very good at performing it in front of other people. But I have read how enough tricks are done to be able to understand a lot of what's going on at a magic show. Sure, I *could* just prefer to turn off my brain and not ruin the "magic" of it. But I in fact much prefer understanding how fucking hard it is to do one of those tricks well. No, I'm not going to be a dick and tell everyone sitting around me how it's done, but personally, it adds something to the enjoyment of human endeavor to have some understanding of just how much endeavor went into it.

Have you ever analysed a work and found that: "Wow, it's sardonic? That's not funny at all. :("

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Postby Malice » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:09 am UTC

zenten wrote:
Amicitia wrote:If you knew how a story was going to end, but it was beautifully written, would there be any reason to put down the book? Personally, I can sympathize that one can analyze a book and ruin the ending prematurely, but any book that places that much emphasis on suspense should be pretty damn good at it.


It's not just knowing how it will end though. It's seeing it no longer as a story, but instead seeing all the cracks between. Its like watching a really good play, and then all the sudden you start figuring out what materials are used for the setting, and where people are flubbing their lines but catching it, and how their costumes aren't quite period, and whatnot. If I didn't know as much about theater I could have enjoyed the play, but instead I'm left seeing all the mistakes.


A really good play won't have mistakes, though, or they'll be balanced out by all the good things you're seeing. Not just seeing the flubbed lines but the lines that were ad-libbed on the spot to great effect, you know?

Analyzing a book isn't about finding out where it's bad or good--you'll know that already because of the effect it's having on you. It's finding out why it's bad or good. Why enjoy a book just on one level when you can enjoy it on two?

I mean, look at it this way. Wizard of Oz, right? They finally make it to the Emerald City, and there's the big green scary head. "I am Oz the Great and Terrible!" It's a cool effect and a great moment (in a movie full of 'em). Then Toto finds out that there was a man behind the curtain making it all work.

When you watch that movie the next time, when it gets to that part again, do you still enjoy Oz the Great and Terrible, or do you go, "ho hum, how boring, it's just a man behind a curtain"?

Or do you appreciate the effect more because of the secret behind it?

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blackeye
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Postby blackeye » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:21 am UTC

reading more complicating literature helps.
cat?

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teamcorndog
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Postby teamcorndog » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:29 pm UTC

For some reason I keep making the mistake of enrolling in classes that have really awesome books, and are discussion-based. I don't mind picking apart books/films with a group of close friends, but hearing the opinions of 30+ strangers about every single chapter of a book is often irritating. Waiting for them all to get to the end of each novel is also :x -worthy.
Now I'm afraid that if I ever re-read these novels, I'll be distracted with thoughts like "wow...one of my classmates said she loved the part where Sheba abuses her daughter. wtf was her problem."
Thought-provoking discussion is great, but listening to every asshole's opinion is grating.


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