throughthelookingglass
about
To be honest there is nothing much about me worth knowing. I live in an island, enjoys being a photographer at times and dance like no one else business. Thats all. I can't think what to write for now so it just stays like this. Welcome to the little life of mine and lets try not to get utterly bored, shall we?

archives


We're all mad here


Unimportant ramblings of what i've learned from teaching lit
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 @ 7/02/2013 02:31:00 PM

What I've learned from teaching literature:

1. I don't like to teach.
2. It is rare for teachers who teach lit to be actually enjoying the "teaching part" they probably enjoy the literature part. 
3. It's even rarer to find students who are interested in it. 

I've been doing Romeo and Juliet with one student for over a few months now, and I must say only recently do I feel it. 

First of all, I am not a fan of Shakespeare. Why on earth would anyone in the right mind be? And second of all, Old English makes me and the student tired just by staring at it. 

So what is with the big change? Well, part of that matter includes me now trying to kind of desperately er get a real life boy toy boyfriend so all of a sudden, Romeo and Juliet might not feel thaaaat cheesy after all. 

In fact, I sometimes wonder if Shakespeare knows how mushy and ridiculous he sounds/ made his characters sound on paper. Then I would be like "what fucking bullshit is this?!" mentally to myself. (Obviously I try not to say that to my student lah! She already does not take literature seriously) 

Trust me. Even I feel exasperate and cringe internally to myself during most scene and especially the all important balcony scene in that play. I mean like honestly, Romeo on the ground calling out above to Juliet. Their exchange of love bla bla bla and don't even get me started on how this can be interpreted as something along the lines of the man is portrayed as somewhat being submissive.Think both metaphorically and well you know. Aha! 

But then during those rare flashes of time when I feel as if I truly appreciate the potency of Romeo and Juliet's so called awe-inspiring young love I feel as if they should not be saying anything less touching. LOL. Suddenly all those cheesiness and grand gestures make sense. And the idea of fate and destiny oh wait its Fate and Destiny capitalized F and D really! The irony! The tragedy! 

Sort of applicable to real life. I think(?)

Just like Romeo at the beginning, I see myself right now as sort of being in love with the idea of being in love but not really transcending beyond to the spiritual, mental, all consuming passionate love that connects two individuals. 

I need to meet the right person in this case Juliet to bring out the real and better me just like Romeo. And of course the two realized that they are going to test the boundaries of society's norm, going past the fact that they belong to respective feuding families and ultimately find the destinies of their own. 

Of course in my sense I don't foresee myself dying or foresee my future lover coming from a feuding family honestly wtf. We don't even feud with any family hahahaha oh wait we do I mean I do! With our next door neighbour that smokes irresponsibly every time but that's not a family that's just single Caucasian and I secretly pluck the leaves of her plants whenever I get agitated with her cigarette smoke just fuming into our living room why must she and her hip friends smoke indoor when they have a balcony!!  but whatever more of like maybe get a non-Chinese bf and test my parent's limit LOL kidding!

I know it is odd that I am relating myself far more to Romeo the man than Juliet the woman because I think it's deliberate on Shakespeare part that he made the male leading character more feminine and the female slightly more masculine. It is an interesting fact to ponder because clearly (he himself was gay)   the very idea of gender identities is put into play when we see Romeo and Juliet's real self being revealed through this relationship. 

It's as if by finding the love of their life allows them to live more freely and truthfully than before (even if it means not fitting the society's standard of being feminine and masculine/coming from opposing families/Juliet's underage marriage-this I find grossly offensive/fighting oppression) and sort of brings out the best in them.

Trust me Juliet's fragile obedient characterless character in Act 1 wouldn't makes you think that she is someone capable of self-sacrifice and yet at the end well we know they both died for one another/for love/for the greater Love/under the cruel hands of Fate. Whatever.

Really. The theme of Fate..gah I have so much to say of this topic I think I can help her write her essay but that will be cheating plus the student is so not hardworking I feel so unmotivated to teach sometimes :(

In my case right now I think I just want a boyfriend that buys me food. Kidding! I want more money really not a boyfriend per se. I'm just going to leave the rest to Fate and see what happens. I can imagine myself removing this post once I really got one. How embarrassing if he stumbled upon this blog...*hides in hole and dies*

Ok actually there is more revelations to learn from Romeo and Juliet but I just want to move on to Animal Farm which is another book I did with another student. 

This student by far is the best I've seen. Clearly she is also interested in literature which makes my job easier and she comes prepared with questions to ask during lessons. That's the dream! 

We just finished Animal Farm and that was her choice of book she wanted to do. I cannot say much except that before I really really read Animal Farm as a literature book, I simply saw it as another of Orwell's book that's all. I mean just it's Orwell *rolls eyes*. 

In my opinion, Orwell should not be recognize as a skilled writer but more of a brave writer given the fact that he dared to write/expose the corrupted when the public seems to be blind at that point in time and history for his age. I mean his books are not that great when it comes to style but the vision/message is always so very clear. Plus if it is Orwell, I sort of wanted to do 1984 rather than Animal Farm hahahaa so I was disappointed when she choose that but only slightly since it is short lol! 

BUT OF COURSE when you really read Animal Farm or anything Orwell for that matter for me, there is always an impact. There will be an impact. If there isn't, you aren't reading it right. 

I read it once as a child and thought the ending was plain horrific and cried when the horse character was sent off to die. I read it again when I was in secondary school and felt helpless with the world and the fact that whoever ends up at the top ends up corrupted NOW I read it again and feel less sympathy for the Boxer character and believe it or not feels as if I should put in some effort to make the world a better place even if it is just slightly and even if  the world may appear fuck up because we are not animals. Odd realization that they are animals and I am not. And that it is a fucking fable to make us wake up and be more hyper alert to what exactly is our role as a human being on this planet. 

Hahaha ok chill pill. Generally I think Orwell has that effect on his readers. Being forced to do Animal Farm as a lit book (as I mentioned not my choice I wanted to do Wuthering Heights if it is totally free choice but she found it too thick and too boring and had burning questions to ask about Animal Farm so I caved in) I found Orwell smart  in the sense that he could make such glaring comparisons of the book and Stalin regime for someone of his position at that point. Of course he didn't managed to get it published right away since most people felt that Stalin was a better change for Russia then but when he did it was a success. 

The cult of personality, how Stalin masked Stalinism as Socialism, the hypocrisy and propaganda, the use of language... I had to research on all of that and I'm glad I did. Made me appreciate the book much more (although Orwell's style of writing as usual not what I would like but suitable for what he is proposing). I found out who is Trotsky lol Russian names are really hard to remember and well, alot about history in that case. Our lit lessons just seems to be like making references to history non stop. I even had to ask Shimin to clarify some parts of history for me. She wasn't really useful though..appears to have thrown out all knowledge that aren't applicable to making money or accountancy.

I don't think I will do 1984 now for a long time since the last political literature play I did was Pinter's The Birthday Party and that is still kind of burned in my brain. I only read 1984 twice but to read read again is like I said, a whole different matter. 

Usually I have a system. I read it once just for enjoyment sake you know, find out the story get use to the writing style appreciate for what it is, form first impressions. The second time I read it is unless I come across it again or when the book calls for it to be re-read again. You get this sense with good books. I remembered going straight into round two with authors like Julian Barnes, Ian Mcewan, Margaret Atwood omg I can list them all forever and take up space.. 

That's why it's worth it to buy books Shimin!! Trust me especially when you re-read it, you gain new insights. Unless your book is 50 shades of Grey then I much rather you use it to clean tables. 

I don't think I want to be ultra paranoid of the state anytime soon now but some skepticism is always healthy though too much is just bad for health plus I'm not all for anarchy. Still, for anyone that is following the Snowden news right now you may be wondering why did Amazon reported a sudden surge in Orwell's 1984 readership go read and find out! And people ask me what is the point of taking literature....

In a move likely to enrage the US, Putin said on Monday: "If he (Snowden) wants to go somewhere and someone will take him, go ahead. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition – he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth."

HA! What will Orwell say?! Remember at the end both the pigs and the farmer played the ace of spades... I can just imagine him exploding with a big "I TOLD YOU SO" in his grave now.

Do it and right after move on with Aldous Huxley "Brave New World" you need to balance it out! It's like a healthy dose of extremes ideas from both sides. What if the state looks into every part of your life and hides the truth from you VS what if you are given all the information but chooses not to see because it is too much and too painful to bear? Dystopia vs utopia.

Fun Fact: Aldous Huxley once taught Orwell himself! I feel damn nerdy for thinking this fact is fun....IT IS FUN OK TO ME!

Warning: you will first go to a state of paranoia and depression you will doubt everything and maybe everyone you will be frightened and after a while you will returned a changed person. HAHAHA ok lah I'm exaggerating. And this is why Orwell matters.

Ok I rambled a lot now for my own sake. Rather useless post but I just want to write it down lest I forget how fun literature can be sometimes. You get so overwhelm by life that you end up forgetting that you are living it. And this is not even me interpreting the text but funny errant thoughts I placed haphazardly in a jumbled fashion about how literature can be rewarding at times.

I don't know much about the teaching. I feel grateful that people would actually pay me to talk things like that in a more grammatically correct and logical manner plus I must admit I feel as if I totally lack the qualifications and am learning as much as I am teaching. Maybe just maybe I shouldn't charged them, after all I am having too much fun myself. Siao ah then you eat air is it !?

I am going to do the Great Gatsby soon! Finally the kind of prose that I feel more impressed by! F.Scott Fitzgerald is a master of style and I love anything he describes. It is so much more what I enjoy reading compared to the prose of Orwell's that is like plain hard truths rolling into one clear sentence. No fancifulness only forthrightness within sentence structures that is made very simple for understanding.










back to the top