Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cheers Love Jolly Good Show!

That’s ‘hello my friend and you’re doing great!’, right? Lord knows it’s probably all wrong. I am so not immersed in British custom, language, anything at all. Although I am a huge fan of Absolutely Fabulous and Love, Actually, and that whole country in Epcot Center is on my list of favorites because, well, there’s a pub. But when it comes to the literature, yeah, not so much a fan.

So of course it’s a little painful that my final class before we move is British Literature I and it starts today. Yes, that does mean there is a Brit Lit II on the way and it starts up a couple weeks after we get to Arizona. But I can’t even think about that right now because my first assignment in this class is to read and complete 2 written assignments on Beowulf.

Oh god.

Want an example of why I’m freaking out? Okay, here’s my first assignment: “Find one passage from pp. 29-51 of the textbook in which the poem encodes the theme [of salvation through sacrifice] in an image, a statement, or a plot event. Reference the chosen passage by line number and a brief quotation. As recognition of the great story of this hero and an indication of the universal appeal of this epic, identify one other quest story from any culture and describe the hero’s quest in that story. What echoes of Beowulf are apparent in the story you have chosen to describe? (You may use film or literature for your reference.)”

Its not that I don’t love to read things that are old or about all kinds of characters in fictional worlds, hell, Lord of the Rings is certainly a favorite, but there’s just something about the formality of British writing that leaves me a little cold. And based on the request above, LOTR is likely what most people will pick as their comparison epic. That’s fine of course but I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. Then again, other than LOTR I never really get into epics so what else can I do? Then I noticed that the assignment mentions film as a reference material for the comparison epic so I started thinking about Beowulf the movie.

I started to wonder if maybe I could rent it as a supplemental study guide. At least it might provide a minute semblance of sense then and while reading I would have that a-ha moment where somehow I can complete my week’s assignments with no problem. But it wasn’t available on the Netflix instant queue so I became a little defeated.

So last night my sister suggested I hit the library. And, um, yeah, duh! I go to the library all the time I have no clue how that didn’t occur to me. I’ll be enjoying lunch out today then I’m heading right for the library; hopefully they have it and I can watch it this afternoon so I can get a better grasp on this poem.

I wonder if there’s a film version of anything by Chaucer or Milton that I could take out while I’m there. Because those dudes and Beowulf are pretty much my choices to study for the ten page final. Five weeks tends to fly by so I’m definitely thinking about the final. Not to mention we have to choose our topic and research additional sources for it this week. Oh yeah and two of the sources we have to list have to be not viable for use. Um, what? Why am I being assigned work that isn’t going to be useful? Seems pretty recoculous to me. I already can’t wait for this class to be over.

And luckily I’ll have almost 3 weeks off in between the two Brit Lit classes.

God help me if I am going to be forced to read any Jane Austen in the second class because, and I’m sorry to say this as a Chick Lit writer myself, but her books are awesome for when I’m having trouble sleeping. Snooze fest extraordinaire. Bor-ing is an understatement.

I wish we were reading a whole lot of Shakespeare but regardless of the man’s obvious impact on the literary world as a whole we get one single sonnet. Yup, just one, and not even until week 4.

Luckily between the two classes its only 10 weeks of my life because I think my brain is likely to pop right off my body otherwise. Pretty clear what I won’t be teaching someday huh?

Right-o. Cheers!


Jessa said...

I'm not a fan of Milton personally. What about Dickens? I love the Bronte sisters work as well.

Wflynnaz said...

One other "epic" quest that comes to mind right away is the original Star Wars trilogy. I have no idea if you could relate it to Beowulf but at least it isn't LOTR.

Almost Precious said...

Hm, tough assignment but I bet you pretty much have a handle on it by now.
After living 5 years on the Caribbean island of Trinidad (an ex-British colony) I soon understood the old verse; "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun".