For the love of Books

During Priest Lake family vacation this year I re-read Jane Eyre, I'd promised some girls on the dance team I'd read it with them so if they had any questions or needed some guidance they could ask me. The last time I'd read it was for a literature class and I remembered liking it a lot better the second time than I had the first time when I was in my early teens. So I figured the third time would probably be even better and I was right. I think that's partly because I didn't have a professor telling me that this or that actually stood for something completely different, obscure and most likely obscene.
I remember one scene early on in the book that my professor picked apart and showed how it was actually about Jane's first sexual experience (i.e. masturbation) and I remember thinking at the time "really? how do you get that out of what's written here?" As I reached that part again this time through I really tried to read between the lines, to find hidden meaning, to see if I could find what I'd missed before...no dice. I just don't think it's there, I don't believe Ms. Bronte would be impressed with that analysis.
I love books; the characters, images, drama/conflict/suspense/humor/love, the smell of the pages, the weight of that world in my hands...I love books. I pursued becoming an English teacher for some years and then after moving home I dropped it however I still think about taking back up my studies again but I wonder if I could do it. I don't think I'd be able to rip apart a piece of Literature like that, to tell my students that there is a hidden message in a certain passage. I found myself more interested in how this story is still relevant, or how my dance team girls would have reacted/behaved if put in a similar situation, did they think Jane behaved foolishly or admirably? How did they think her life could have been different if she'd made different choices along the way? Would it have been better? Worse? Let's look at the words that are there, the story given to us and digest it, why does it seem like so many teachers are trying to rewrite the stories or find things that aren't really there?

1 comment:

... said...

reminds me of my college poetry class...maybe the author wasn't talking about his relationship to his grandmother's aunt maybe he just meant the curtains were blue!