[personal profile] cait
You guys, I really like the look of this class (American Studies) but I think it's way too smart for me.  It's in the English department and it's all about reading books and extrapolating stuff.  True story: I am not deep.  I am not an out of the box thinker.  Nor am I an in the box thinker.  Once I read a poem about a dead flower and actually thought it was about a dead flower. 

Ahhhh, we have to do reflections on things.  Has anybody read the following books?

-Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
-Nine Stories by J.D Salinger
-The Dead Father by Donald Barthoeme
-TheMezzazine by Nicholas Baker
-The Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Last War by Tobias Wolff
-Jarhead by Anthony Swofford

Are they deep and full of meaning?  Do they have underlying messages?  Does it say things that aren't written on the page?  Because that = bad news.

I totally like this class, but I think I will fail it or break my brain.  Thoughts?  I defer to you guys :(

Date: 2009-01-05 09:58 pm (UTC)
aurora: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aurora
True story: I am not deep. I am not an out of the box thinker. Nor am I an in the box thinker. Once I read a poem about a dead flower and actually thought it was about a dead flower.
Ahahahaha, this could have been written about me.

And I haven't read any of those books. But I've seen the movie 'Jarhead', which is probably not very helpful.

Date: 2009-02-02 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternallycait.livejournal.com
I have been planning to rent Jarhead, but I'm afraid it will give me an excuse not to read the book.

I can say this with a month between me now - omg, I am pretty sure no one can write a word without it being interpreted weirdly. I think we should start doing literary interpretations of fanfic. Tell the authors what they *really* mean.

Date: 2009-01-06 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juteux.livejournal.com
I haven't read any of those. Though Slouching Towards Bethlehem is supposed to be good, and Salinger is a great writer. And hey, Jarhead was a movie!

and it's all about reading books and extrapolating stuff.

welcome to my university career.

Date: 2009-02-02 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternallycait.livejournal.com
Slouching Towards Bethlehem was actually really good - I really enjoyed it. I am having...issues with Salinger. There will be a line like 'I like pudding.' and the rest of the class talks about sexuality and a fear of death whereas I am like, I also enjoy pudding.

English majors=I dun git u

Date: 2009-01-06 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] franticsga.livejournal.com
I've read Nine Stories and Jarhead. Salinger is fun to read, although there may be some extrapolation involved because lots of English professors have orgasms over what's not explicitly stated in his stories. He's very understated, sometimes to an annoying extent. "A Good Day for Bananafish" is my favorite out of that book because what happens in it echoes throughout two of Salinger's other books, Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Franny & Zooey.

Jarhead is not a very good book, but much easier because Swofford will not only tell you what meaning you have to take away from the book, but he will make sure you can recite it verbatim. Not exactly subtle, Swofford.

I never thought I was going to be any good at reading and extrapolating stuff either. Then I took a Lit Analysis class, and it was seriously fun. It helps if you have access to critical articles so you can feel très superior because you know that the poem about a dead flower is not, in fact, about a dead flower.

Date: 2009-02-02 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternallycait.livejournal.com
Oh god, I think of this comment practically every time I pick up Nine Stories. I keep having to remind myself that no, Cait, there IS something deeper. FIND IT. We spent two days on Bananafish. Was he a pedophile? Or was he just hanging out with a kid? It didn't really get talked about, but that's what I wanted to find out.

I'm actually kind of enjoying the class - it's interesting to learn how to think in a different way. It's not just connecting the facts, but figuring out what the facts *are*.

Date: 2009-02-02 11:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] franticsga.livejournal.com
I don't think Seymour was a pedophile (although the fun thing about lit analysis is that you could probably make a case for anything simply based on coding in the text). It helps to read Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters, just so you know about Seymour's life through the eyes of his brother Buddy. Mainly Seymour was intelligent almost to the point of, I think, transcending human things. In Carpenters, there's this one point where Buddy's talking about Seymour touching Franny's face, and he says that he leaves a lemon-colored mark on her when he touches her. I think Seymour's suicide may have been an act of self-preservation.

Anyway, the Glass family is always interesting to read about, just because they are so sincerely fucked up. Their parents were Vaudevillian performers who had seven absolutely brilliant children, who all went on some radio talk show that was an early predecessor of Jeopardy!, and then Seymour committed suicide and Walter died (he's mentioned in "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut), and the remaining children are all messed up.

I'm glad you're enjoying the class. I really didn't think I'd find analysis fun at first, because critics never seem to actually write criticism anymore so much as they like to write criticism of other people's criticism. But it is interesting to have all your preconceived notions turned upside-down, even if you think the professor is stark raving mad for thinking that Dorothy's slippers represented the clitoris and the fact that Glinda gave them to her meant that Dorothy was, in fact, a lesbian.

Date: 2009-01-06 07:07 am (UTC)
ext_2034: (Default)
From: [identity profile] ainsley.livejournal.com
I have no thoughts on the topic, but wish you wisdom in making the decision!

Date: 2009-02-02 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternallycait.livejournal.com
I kept the class :( I couldn't find something to replace it with. OMG, I am bad friend. Must comment more on your journal of awesome.

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