Wednesday, May 14, 2008

School Stories 1 - English!

Today my English professor retracted part of the syllabus. It was the first thing she announced in class. She said she's decided she "won't be militant about tardies" after all. And then she repeated it (still using the word 'militant', which I've always been vaguely aware of but never used) for the tardy part of the class, too, so that everyone would know. Apparently the people who scheduled summer classes didn't allow any transition time between classes. So classes finish at 11 precisely, and other classes start at 11 precisely. Oops. Several of my classmates mentioned it to her, and so we don't have our intense tardy policy anymore. I don't plan on being tardy anyway, since my bus-bus-train-train schedule gets me there like 30 minutes early, but it still seems like a glimmer of hope for this class.

Also, the poems we were assigned (due today) had several that were kind of precursors to women's rights. So they're from a time where women had to do what their husbands said, and they were expected to cook and clean, etc, and expected not to think too much about things, and they were...not bitter...but ready for equal rights, if that makes sense. And it reminds me of this short story that we read in a few different years of English classes in high school.

The story that I remember is, there's this old lady. Her husband has died. I forget how. I think at war. And then pretty soon afterwards she finds out that, oh wait, someone got it all wrong, he was definitely still alive. And the old lady has a heart attack, I think, and she dies. And everyone's like "Oh, she loved him so much, she was so excited to find out that he was alive, that the shock and excitement of it all killed her. How sweet." But other parts of the story (that we know since it's told from an omniscient perspective) let us know that REALLY, the REAL reason why she died was because when she found out he had died she felt FREE. FINALLY. After years of having to be the wife. And she dreams, and hopes, and has lived for this moment. And then, in an instant, it's all gone. Because he's alive, and she still can't really be free. And grief of losing her freedom that she was so excited about, that was what really killed her. It's a really intense short story, and one that I like a lot.

I'm sure I've remembered parts of it wrong. I haven't read it in ages. But here's the thing: we also always read parts from one of the books we're supposed to be reading later. And I think that might be the story that we read from that book. So all class, I wanted to tie the two together, because the sentiment of them are the same! But on the off-chance that it actually is the same thing we're reading later, I don't want to spoil it for my whole class! That would be awful of me.

Also, I realized that there are some poems that I like. I don't entirely hate poetry. I just hate over-analyzing it, and looking for things that aren't there, and wish the author would say what they meant. BUT, poems themselves are not always bad.

Our reading assignment for Friday is a little scandalous. When we went over the syllabus, there was a whole big paragraph about how there would be no "content accommodations" and that if any of the requirements of the course "conflict with our sincerely-held core beliefs," we should consider dropping the class.

Our first poem is called "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps" and it's about how this couple has no privacy now that they have a kid, but even though the kid wants to snuggle with them it like, reminds them of their love for him, and their original love that brought him, too. And then one of the other ones is kind of graphic with female anatomy. Both are very tasteful, though. They're sweet poems, and not crude at all.

Still, though, when I read Friday's assignment and thought about the syllabus, I'm sure there are some LDS people who would find the assignment really inappropriate. There's just no way this kind of stuff would be chosen for a BYU class. In California, nobody would have thought a thing about it. It doesn't bother me. But it was another one of those things that reminded me that it isn't Provo, you know?

No comments: