Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summer One

Summer One, the first of the two summer sessions we run here in Pork Smith, has started. I'm teaching two classes this semester and two next semester. Hoppin', I tell ya. This makes me happy, because now I can pay the astounding electric and gas bills that, I have no doubt, will be stacking up. (Gas is 3.39 a gallon here. Ai! And what this is doing to our power bills and grocery bills, I do not have to tell y'all.)

Twenty-five students in my Comp One class; 13 in my WLIT class. Good students, so far. The comp students, when I came into class, were all reading the novel -- I switched from Major Barbara to True Grit, by Charles Portis. I gave up on Major Barbara, finally. I surrendered. Now I'm hoping True Grit, which, as you may remember, begins in Pork Smith, and is written in the dialect of Arkansas, might be a better fit. So far the signs look favorable -- they were engrossed. They were reading it of their own free will. None, however, had read it before, which was a bit of a surprise to me. They hadn't even seen the movie. These kids today.

The World Lit class -- sophomores and juniors in there, not freshmen -- they were also lively. I told them we would be reading plenty. I warned them we had to blaze through 2300 years of literature in five weeks, so they needed to gear up and buckle down. I said this wasn't any sort of soft ride, not in my class. I started them with my What Is Literature For? lecture, which appeared to astonish them. Apparently they had no idea that literature was for anything. Then I cross-hooked them with the What Is Literature, Anyway, While We're On It? lecture, and that made their eyes spin.

Five or six of them crowded around me afterwards. "What did you mean when you said Milton was trying to make people Christians in Paradise Lost?" one demanded. "Where did you get that? Is that what you mean by purpose?"

"How did you know that the X-Men movie was the Blood Libel Myth?" another wanted to know. "How did you know that? Is there a book on that?"

Another gave me an orange jelly bean.

Another wanted to tell me about a graphic novel she was reading that she was sure I would like.

Don't I love students?

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