February 16, 2006

Ah, the good old days of AP English

I was just brushing my teeth and had an interesting revelation...

[Funny, isn't it, the illuminating power of brushing one's teeth? I highly recommend it... for those of you who don't brush, you should try it. It's fun! and good for you!]

This week is turning into 12th grade AP English redux. Last night and today comprised one of Lady Stip's trademark "nightmares of death and destruction," as I stayed up 'til 3 AM, then got up at 8:30, to finish a paper-- on a poem about death, no less. Then, as luck would have it, I had to spend the rest of the day (when I wasn't in class) prepping for a Russian test I wasn't prepared for at. all. (So why am I up right now at 2 AM? God only knows.)

And there were other parallels. First off, we're reading Hamlet in my Shakespeare class. It's a great play, and even better the second time around. Then, in my British Lit survey, we're reading (well, skimming, unfortunately) Tennyson, and one of the poems we're studying is the classic "Ulysses":

...Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

That last couplet has been quoted and analyzed so often it's become almost cliched, but it's lost none of its power since I first read it in the Perrine's poetry book. Tennyson is great. So are Keats and Wordsworth. I really need to read more of their stuff.

While we're on the subject, I don't miss high school all that much, but I do kind of miss the classes. I miss the days where you could sit down every day and talk about a book, or analyze a poem in real depth, rather than going to a lecture in which the professor tries to cram in so many texts and authors that we are unable to get down to the good stuff in any of them. Or going to a "discussion" section where 3/4 of the time is taken up by ridiculous quizzes, stupid procedural questions, and dumb-ass comments by people who don't know what they're talking about, and lukewarm responses from a TA who doesn't really care.

Posted by smit2174 at February 16, 2006 1:56 AM