Author Topic: Literacy in Berserk  (Read 3060 times)

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Offline Giovanna

Literacy in Berserk
« on: June 03, 2013, 02:51:08 PM »
So, it might be an useless discussion, but it made me curious since I saw Casca reading a book on volume 8. Actually I'm kinda assuming she was reading it, since she was looking at it. Anyway, I was just wondering how she learned to read, after all, she was from a poor family. Maybe Griffith taught her (since I do know he can), but if is that, how did he learn? He was also poor, no? And my biggest doubt: is Guts able to read? I can't recall seeing it (which is not surprising, with my bad memory...), but as a warrior it is not really important or useful for him, right?

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 05:35:11 PM »
I don't think everyone in Berserk can read, far from it. However I also don't imagine it would have been too hard for Casca or Guts to learn to, had they so desired. Beyond Griffith, there must have been some guys that learned to read around every mercenary camp, in towns, etc. So without necessarily being exceptionally proficient I imagine they have the basics down.

Online Walter

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Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 01:41:43 AM »
but as a warrior it is not really important or useful for him, right?
Being able to read can be a survival skill, and in a world like Berserk's, I'd think that basic literacy would be considered very necessary if living on your own. Consider all the ways people could take advantage of you if you couldn't read. Consider road signs, medicines, etc. There are dozens of examples where being utterly unable to read would put you at a disadvantage, even if your skills do lie in strength.
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Offline Giovanna

Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 05:11:14 PM »
Yeah, I do agree with the importance of it, but somehow it seems strange to me that they know how to read. Actually, not Griffith, but Casca and Guts. Maybe because I imagine the Berserk's world as a Middle Age story, and thus I associate with that literacy rate, which was, if I am not mistaken, not very high among those who were not from the church or had any practical use for it. Well, even nowadays is not really that common in some countries, unfortunately. What I think is that, if most people doesn't know how to read, then they can't also write, so there will be less "written materials" (like the roads signs, medicines labels and so on).

Somehow I can imagine Casca giving it some value, but not Guts, haha But that's just my feelings, nothing that I can be sure.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts, I was just curious.

Offline ApostleBob

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Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 04:37:28 AM »
Interesting world topic. If we assume that the Berserk world is very similar to a medieval society, then we know that literacy probably would be much, much lower than modern standards. Commoners would likely be illiterate or barely literate, especially outside cities. Often times medieval shops would have pictures of their wares on store signs instead of names, or both for this very reason. Nobles were mostly literate, as were wealthy businessmen and merchants. Literacy was more of a luxury than a necessity for many. If it couldn't put food on the table or coin in your purse it was superfluous except perhaps on a basic level. Consider the time and effort it takes to learn in school. A year at the least, with regular lessons.   

Obviously Griffith was well read, and it fits his character as a self made man, always out to better himself and rise in society.  Casca could as well, and probably on more than just a basic level since she appeared to be reading for pleasure in her quarters. She lived in a village community before the Hawks, so maybe there was some influence there, but likely it was Griffith rubbing off on her. She did worship him, and likely learned the sword from him as well.

Guts though... I kinda doubt it. He was raised by a pretty rugged mishmash of mercenaries. No other kids around or mother figures. Plus when he wasn't fighting it seemed like they used him to do menial labor like tend horses, draw water, and cook. His education seemed like it was primarily learning to be a soldier. Martial skills, riding, tactics and the like. I'm sure math would've been important to mercenaries for payment and gambling. But learning to read? Kinda doubt it. The mercenary camp would've only needed a few people to read in order to get by. Maps and road signs and the like as Walter mentioned.   

Maybe he learned some while he was a Hawk, but he was already a young man by then. He seemed more interested in bettering his fighting skills than anything that would've been deemed high society. He flipped through a book in Griffiths library, but I got the impression that he was passing time. Plus it was pretty common for old texts to be accompanied by pictures. He just doesn't strike me as someone that would value that type of higher education. He's always had plenty of people around for that anyway.

Anyway it's all speculation for now. Interesting though.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 06:43:17 AM »
I'm sure math would've been important to mercenaries for payment and gambling. But learning to read? Kinda doubt it. The mercenary camp would've only needed a few people to read in order to get by.

Basic math and basic reading kind of go hand in hand though. If he'd learned the basics of one from a "learned" guy around the camp, I'd also expect him to have had the opportunity to pick up those of the other.

Offline Giovanna

Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 10:43:24 AM »
He flipped through a book in Griffiths library, but I got the impression that he was passing time. Plus it was pretty common for old texts to be accompanied by pictures.

That was the Kama Sutra, no? I don't think many people care for the text in this book, hahaha Was that the only occasion we saw him with a book? I can't remember any other.

I think he learned the basics by "accident", not really putting his mind on it. He seems to me as a smart guy.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 11:18:22 AM »
That was the Kama Sutra, no?

Something inspired by it.

I don't think many people care for the text in this book

Actually, the original contains a lot of text.

I think he learned the basics by "accident", not really putting his mind on it. He seems to me as a smart guy.

He's pretty sharp, but I doubt he could have learned "by accident".

Offline Giovanna

Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 12:46:31 PM »
Actually, the original contains a lot of text.

Yeah, just that most people that have told me they read it, they actually just looked at the pictures. Probably because the most common version [in my country] has only pictures (makes sense, unfortunately. Reading is still one of the last appreciated pastimes in Brazil).

He's pretty sharp, but I doubt he could have learned "by accident".

Sorry, lacking vocabulary, bad English.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Literacy in Berserk
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 01:23:54 PM »
Sorry, lacking vocabulary, bad English.

No problem, I see what you mean, and it's more or less what I imagine could have happened. I think he would have put some effort into it, but not for a very long time. Hence what I envision, with him not being particularly proficient.