Monday, June 22, 2009

Spare Me Your Despair

Headed into a rather nutty week with school ending and VBS starting and kids' swimming going full tilt, so I suspect not a lot of reading will happen. I'm completely bogged down in Walker Percy's THE MOVIEGOER because who has the time or energy to listen to anyone's existential despair? At least Percy treats Binx Bolling's despair rather lightheartedly. While I'm not rolling on the floor, I am at least smiling from time to time.

Speaking of despair, a teacher I spoke to this weekend asked me if I thought middle school was too soon to be doing CATCHER IN THE RYE with kids: YES. Even in high school I wasn't clear that Holden wasn't just wry--he was suicidal--so what would middle school kids make of it all? Heck, even freshman year in high school my teachers stuck with Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES when they wanted to show us all that life is the pits, and human nature in particular.

I'm picking up a theme here: schools like to teach despair books to teenagers.

ROMEO AND JULIET: Grown-ups just don't get it, and they're all about war, so kill yourselves! Here's more to do with hate.

MACBETH: It's all written, and if you're slated for doom there's nothing you can do about it! What, you egg!

HAMLET: Should you kill your machinating uncle or yourself because everything is so completely screwed up? Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt!

KING LEAR: One day, should you ever have children, they're going to turn on you like jackals, while you wander the heath in despair with someone annoying who doesn't even crack funny jokes. How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!

At least, that was my high school curriculum.

I'd love to know if anyone read perky books in high school or has kids in high school being assigned perky books. Do Christian schools do despairing books or perky books?

No comments:

Post a Comment