I love the English language. I love it so much, in fact, that I have decided to major in it.
The vast majority of the time, I thoroughly enjoy my classes, and the things we discuss and learn in them.
However, every once and a while, I become greatly irked at the subject matter discussed. As most people who have taken any literature class know, the greater part of the discussion is subjective, and focused on the opinion of the current teacher, or the students involved in the class.
I'm fine with that. I realize that I am most likely going to have a differing opinion of that of my professors and peers throughout my undergrad, and further education if I choose to pursue it. The thing I cannot STAND, however, is when the professor spends the allotted amount of time discussing menial portions of the literature; and brushes over the greater, significant portions of it.
Before today's class, we were to read Gulliver's Travels. Those who have read Gulliver's Travels know that it is a novel-length satire on the economic, political, and social circumstances of the 18th century written by Jonathan Swift. Jonathan is a misanthrope, and his facetious satire clearly displays this.
The novel consists of, well, the travels of Gulliver to multiple(4) places of foreign distinction. He encounters strange creatures of existence, and this novel is therefore his account of these creatures, their lands, and his interaction with them.
I remember reading Gulliver's travels when I was in about 4th grade. I remember thoroughly enjoying the stories and accounts of Gulliver; so when the assignment was announced, I reacted with a positive attitude-- Even considering the great amount we were to read before the next class took place.
I read the chapters in a more mature mind frame than I had the first time, and instead of looking at them as mere stories, I interpreted them as the historical satire they were. The tales lost a lot of their appeal to me, but my enjoyment wasn't lost. I have studied enough literature to be able to appreciate good metaphors when I see them.
Anyway, I went to class today expecting to have an enlightening discussion on the things we read. After all, I HAD read the book with mature insight, hadn't I? My efforts, however, were futile. Instead, we had a 50 minute discussion on fecal matter, and why we are ashamed of it.
While you are letting that last sentence sink in...
I know, RIGHT??!?
There is a segment in the first book where Gulliver is among the people of Lilliputan. He is chained inside a cathedral. The cathedral hadn't been used in some time, so the people of Lilliputan decide it is an ideal place to keep Gulliver. Towards the middle of the chapter, Gulliver brings up the point that he has to relieve himself. He can't escape, so he decides to drop one in the middle of the cathedral. The paragraph discusses a lot of Gulliver's justifications in doing this, and explains that it was the only time he did this.
This entire scene happened in about a paragraph.
And yet, my professor was able to spend 50 minutes discussing the significance.
He claimed that we, as humans, are ashamed of mortality (symbolized by poop, apparently) and therefore are ashamed of POOPING. We discussed: Why does crap happen? How do you reconcile crap? If you have a body, do you have shame? And so on, and so forth.
I don't mean to hate on my professor.
I mean, the guy's a freaking genius.
All I'm saying is that with all that knowledge, and with all the MANY things we could have spent the allotted amount of time discussing, I feel as though his preference was slightly lacking.
Because really, kids, that was one crappy class.
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