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Zinkoff is forever asking questions, forever volunteering to answer. For every right answer, five are wrong. The more he gets wrong, the more he wants to answer. The better to be seen back in his last-of-the-alphabet desk, he sometimes crouches on his seat like a baseball catcher ...

Hi,

Does the bolded part in the above sound good to you? Is it better to say "To be better seen back in his last-of-the-alphabet dest?" Thanks.
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It doesn't sound good, and it doesn't make sense in the context you've given. Do you mean:

It would be better for him to remain sitting back in the last-of-the-alphabet desk, where he sometimes

crouches like a baseball catcher ?
Thanks, Philip.

I've double-checked my novel on the lines that I copied on this thread. They are no typo from my part. And I don't think the original sounds good, so I guess it means "to be better seen ..."
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The bolded part sounds OK to me.
If you remember, earlier in the novel the author described how the teacher assigned seats i.e. alphabetically. So Zinkoff wound up in the last seat in the last row, all the way in the back of the classroom.

Here the author is referring to that seating arrangement when he points out that, in order to be better seen by the teacher he "crouches" on his seat. Here is an annotated version of the sentence in question (my additions in square brackets).

"The better [in order] to be [better] seen [all the way in the] back [of the classroom] in his last-of-the-alphabet desk [as assigned by his teacher], he sometimes crouches..."
Impressive, RayH, but what's the title of the novel?
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Philipwhat's the title of the novel?
Loser by Jerry Spinelli

http://books.google.com/books?id=vrJ6qIVtKugC&printsec=frontcover&dq=loser+Jerry+Spinelli&lr =
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loser_(novel )

Copy and paste, I'm too lazy to post the the links.

EDIT:
Wow, I just discovered that the system automatically converts URLs to clickable links. How cool is that?!