Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lit Class: WTF?

So, today in Lit we were given the assignment of reading a couple of chapters, one of which consists entirely of the six short-short stories that we'll choose between to write our first paper, a comparison/contrast.

Now, here I feel the need to mention that my Lit book prides itself on being "contemporary" enough to include the latest in the "Literary Canon" which is defined for us lowly students as "a group of works that are generally agreed upon by writers, teachers, and critics to be worth reading and studying."

Some of it, to be completely honest, just strikes me as weird. It makes me wonder if some of these authors just sat down one day and said "hey, I'm gonna write a 'story' (snort, chuckle) composed entirely of song titles." Or some such.

Don't get me wrong, the author picked out good song titles for her subject, and it *does* lead you through the path of the "story" but come on, that's not a short story, not even a short-short. Maybe an odd kind of poetry, but not a story.

Even the story that is five sentences in its entirety makes more sense to be called a story than the list of song titles.

I know, I know, its supposed to challenge us, make us think beyond the classic view of literature, blah blah blah... but dangit, how in the heck am I supposed to write a comparison/contrast paper that's longer than the story itself? And you know, doesn't have artist information in parenthesis.

I'll figure it out. I've got a day or so to choose my subject or subjects, so I can re read them a few times and try to make sense of it all.

On the bright side, our prompt papers were returned to us, and mine had a little note on the end of it: "Good Writing."

*On an edited note, I wonder if my instructor would allow me to write my comparison/contrast paper sprinkled liberally with internet acronyms? Could be fun....


Bill said...

Hello, Farmgirl,

First, has anyone talked to you about your school's library??
Having been a horse person myself, in a past life, being in a barn is preferable to being in a library, unless the library has a hitching post outside.
Oh yeah, the library.
Your school should subscribe to a number of paid databases (not Google Scholar, but keep that in the back of your mind, just in case.) You should be able to access the databases from the library, from any computer on campus, and probably from off-campus, using your computer, and your college library card. (You got your student ID, that normally is your library card. It may need to be activated, to be used off campus.
Call Circulation and ask. If it needs to be activated, perhaps they will do it over the phone.
Databases: Anything with the word Literature in the title, or subject . Examples: Gale Literary Reference Center, Literature Resource Center, Modern Language Association Bibliography, etc. Type in the author's name of the short story, and there will be criticism of their works, etc.
ok? Questions? Call your school Reference Librarian, or email me!
I am a reference Librarian and a number of years ago owned a white Arabian gelding.
Bill (william.anger@mac.com)

farmgirl said...

Welcome to the blog, nice to see ya, sit down, make yourself comfy, wouldja like a glass of tea?

Ok now that we've got the formalities out of the way...

Thanks for the tip on the reference libraries! This post is actually mostly me venting about some of the crazy things that get called art, in this case, in Literature. Don't get me started on abstract sculpture... sure, it may be pretty, but that's *all* it is, if it's even that.

I'll keep the reference libraries in mind, but so far my instructor is really stressing that she wants to know how *we* see a work, so for right now, I'll keep my "this is crazy talk" feelings to the responses, and I'll try to write my comp/con paper "straight" so to speak.

Drew said...

Yeah, contemporary "literature" sometimes leaves something to be desired.
As for the idea that she wants to see how you see a work, be careful there. Some lit teachers say that, but don't mean it. Or, worse, they THINK they mean it. Of course, you'll get a feel for the teacher fairly quickly, I'm sure.
Good luck on lit. Hopefully, you won't need luck, though.

farmgirl said...

Oh, this teacher has been pretty good in in-class discussions on getting the point across that when it comes to interpreting literature, as long as you can support your stance from the text, and tell her *why* you have that stance, then it's valid. She even accepted "it just feels that way, I'm not sure why" as a valid response to something we did in class today.

And my response of "the narrator is telling the lady on the phone to "bite me" in an extremely polite way that's intended to point out how ridiculous the whole thing is" was met with much appreciation.

Drew said...

It's good to hear that you've got a reasonable teacher. I hope it goes well for you.