What does a tutor do when someone at high school or college studying English literature makes up his or her mind that they do not like the subject and will do so by winging and whining how overworked they already are and why must they study all these old stories.

What is required to overcome this thought process?  A show of patience, perseverance and maybe just a small dose of sympathy and guile.

One young man was delighted when he was asked to speak on his hobby of surfing and another on his devotion to fishing.  Listening carefully grammar was quietly corrected, new words to improve vocabulary were inserted. It was suggested that certain other books be read.  Then it was back to Shakespeare and poetry.

Now it was time to demonstrate that the so called “old  stories”  from a different period disclosed men and women with the same manners, bad habits, prejudices as will be found in more modern times. The result?   Time rubbed off some of their own bias and we all got down to hard work to pass the necessary exams.