Friday, October 11, 2013

A bit on Literature

 As a child I loved to read. Id stay up for hours reading. Books were always an adventure. I could forget about all my problems and things I needed to do and just dive into an adventure for a few hours.
It was so easy and it was exactly what I wanted.

But as I got older people started telling me what to read.

At first it was just a list that I had to pick a few books from. It wasn't my favorite thing abut at least some of my favorite authors had at least one title on the list I was supposed to read from. As I got older this list got smaller and smaller until it became assigned reading... ewww just ewww. The books, sorry I mean literature I had to read in high school was often mind numbingly boring, or just confusing. Like The Crucible for example...

First, its a play. So annoying to read, there's stage directions and dialogue is weird to read, its just much better as a performance. I don't hate reading plays I actually love Shakespeare especially his witty nonsensical comedies but thats another story. The Crucible is just a bunch of dumb girls lying to get attention, I know this sounds a lot like Mean Girls but it sucks a lot. Yeah, its supposed to be an allegory for McCarthyism but that means it should be read in a historical context, like a social science class, not Honors English. We spent months talking about symbolism, irony, allegory, tone instead of the thinly veiled subtext, literary representations of historical figures and its presence on banned books list, any thing banned is always better...

The Scarlett Letter also sucks. Its written in middle english, not quite Shakespere, not quite normal english, and it requires a dictionary every third paragraph. Also hanging someone for cheating is ridiculous punishment, you cant pick your parents so why all the hatin' on Pearl, and I'm sooo glad I'm not a character in this story there is no happy ending for anyone.

This cycle of icky forced reading was real real bad in high school. There were a few gems, like The Jungle which is morbidly awesome, and accurate to the time. Wuthering Heights, Bronte girls know how to do sad love stores right! The BBC movie version is also awesome, Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley, kill it, I haven't seen the Laurence Oliver version. I have learned to hate Dickens, too much moping and not enough doing, also enough with the foreshadowing, you have killed any and all surprises. More modern literature can be good, but when you use the structure of your novel as a part of the overall meaning you exclude those not well versed in literature from enjoying your book (heres to you, House of Leaves) And the worst book ever, ahem, Ida by Gertrude Stein, its worse than See Spot Run.

After many many years of being forced to read what some call, "classics," and "literature" while having to deeply analyze and deconstruct. My love of reading has extinguished itself to faint white coals. When I was younger I used to love book reports, and being pushed out of my fantasy/adventure novel comfort zone, but forced reading, bullshit analyzations, and irrelevant "literature" that only speaks to the trials of rich white males killed the book zealot in me long ago. Lately I've been trying to get back into reading, I tried to engulf my self in some literature. But now every time I read any fiction all I can think about is the archetypes, irony, imagery and themes rather than just getting sucked up into someones dream world. But I'm curious does anyone actually enjoy talking about literary devices used in novels? Or is it just something that professors do that sucks the joy out of books?

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