Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Our teacher bounded into class today, and cheerfully asked us how our weekend had been. I said that it had been a good weekend despite the dark readings. I put the question to her. "Are there no cheerful examples of great literature?" She said, "Can you name one?" I offered up that Winnie the Pooh was a cheerful book, both innocent and wise. It had certainly withstood the test of time. She suggested a children's literature class. I suggested "The Tao of Pooh", but I can see that I am getting nowhere with her. She will teach us to read great literature even if it kills us.

We began our class as we do every class. We had our quiz. We do a lot of reading and the teacher makes sure that we are doing the reading by quizzing us each day. I do my reading, but when you are reading three or four stories for each class (held twice a week), along with the assigned book, not to mention my pleasure reading: my upstairs book (0n the bedside table) and my downstairs book (tossed on the coffee table), well, covering that amount of reading, sometimes you might get a detail mixed up or forget something. I cruised along doing well until I reached the last question: 'What is the significance of 'bees?'


I pondered it, and for the life of me, I could not remember bees in the story. So I wrote that bees could certainly be found in Winnie the Pooh, that they made hunny, and so could be considered significant in that context.

It wasn't until we handed our tests in that I suddenly remembered the answer that she probably was hoping for. The character's ex-wife was allergic to bees, and he contemplated putting a hive of bees in the house some day. Still, though, my answer wasn't wrong


jeanie said...

You answered my last question.

She reminds me of a Film Lecturer we once had - when quizzed if she ever went to see a film for pleasure, she could not understand the concept.

You gotta feel sorry for some, hey?

Anonymous said...

Actually she's quite an interesting charactor, strong and self reliant. She came to college late, after raising her children. She's probably much like me. I get a kick out of her.

Mary Paddock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Paddock said...

You have my sympathies. In recent years, there's been a shift toward "realistic" short literary fiction. And somehow realism (and complexity for that matter) became equated with depressing plots and stories peopled with characters I wouldn't want to live next door to. Apparently, in literature, happiness is only a place holder between betrayal; its discovery; and how the character is going to suffer for it.

By the way--this does not mean that all great literature is depressing--just too much of it.

Mrs.Spit said...

Now you have me thinking. Strong Lit with some redemption.

Let me think. I bet I can come up with several. . .