Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical


Thursday we did “the misread poem of the 20th-century” in Michael’s class: Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” I never really thought about the poem that much, always thought of it in the Dead Poets Society interpretation we have all been trained in. When i actually read it for Michael’s class, though, i noticed that parts of it don’t really fit.
The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The bolded stuff is what struck me as jarring/out-of-place.

I had never noticed before that he concedes that that morning the two paths really look about the same. In our previous discussions of Frost in that class, we have talked about the fallacy of thinking we can read the landscape (a fallacy Frost subtly points out).

“I shall be telling this with a sigh” -- That is the sign of a lament. And having read that, it occurred to me that the final line is value-neutral. We always assume that the difference it made is a positive one, but that is never explicitly stated, and the “sigh” would in fact imply the opposite.

In class also talked about further textual ambiguities. For example, the title. It is always assumed to be meaning the speaker took the road not taken by most, but perhaps the speaker is lamenting re: the road he did not take.

Michael took suggestions for band names for AMS. One of the ones they have come up with is “The Endowed Chairs.” I like that a lot. A lot of people mentioned names of bands they or their friends had in high school. One person mentioned “grassroots fascism.” “Also known as Reaganism,” Michael quipped. Is it bad that my first thought was, “Also known as Smith College”? I’m really loving the phrase, though.

I recently learned that the Dresden Dolls' name originated with the Flowers in the Attic children. Creepy. One of these days i really must read those books.

Why is econ my favorite class?

Both of my fairy tale classes don’t feel like i’m learning much new, in part because i have so much background. Also, in my UMass class the lectures haven’t really gotten to the tales themselves yet, and the lectures in Betsey’s class have mostly been better explaining the readings, which has value, but y’know, i have the syllabus and could just read them on my own.

I like Doug a lot, but the 18th-century novel is not my favorite thing, no matter how well it is taught, and i’m not madly in love with how he’s teaching it, though certainly it’s good enough. I have no unusual complaints about Michael’s class, but i’m certainly not in love with it.

In econ i’m reinforcing the stuff i learned last semester in intro micro (i’m taking intro macro this semester, for those not keeping up) and learning new stuff. I’m totally loving learning how economics works.

I am SUCH a bad English major. I am really interested in interrogating texts, just not literary ones. I have inherited from my father a passion for consistency, and we could say that i have an English major’s passion for character motivation. Picking apart people and what they say and do and believe and rearticulating it as a coherent “narrative,” only i do it with my real people rather than with fictional characters.
“a well-lived life is a constant act of literary criticism”
-Doug, on the attitude of Puritans like John Bunyan

“We must be well read in the story of our own lives.”
-John Bunyan, Grace Abounding
I was telling Sam i decided not to write a thesis, in part because it would have to be within my department of major. One day, i swear i will have a nonfiction book published. But 50 pages on literature, who are you kidding?

I had this long thing written following up on the brief conversation Allie and i had about Shakespeare, but i realized i was being horribly unfair to the Bard and ended up taking back pretty much everything i had said. But it will be “interesting” when i take both semesters of Shakespeare next year.

There are a bunch of interesting lectures and such coming up at 4pm or 4:30 Tuesdays or Thursdays, and i can’t go ‘cause i have UMass class. One might think UMass classes would be infinitely missable, but we have in-class writing assignments. However, we can hand in responses within a week of when they are given, just write our names on a piece of paper with a response to the material covered in class so far [the in-class writing prompts are given midway through each class period] if we are in attendance but have not done the reading. samfeasor, you used to be a TA, so i can ask you. Could i, multiple times throughout the semester, skip class and hand in the response in the next class without my grade suffering? (I feel like they're practically begging us not to come to class, putting everything online and stuff. *sighs*)

Thursday’s session of the UMass class was about 18th- and 19th-century discipline and child-rearing. We ended with an illustrated story of a boy who always sucked his thumb, and then this giant monstrous tailor runs in and cuts off his thumbs and i jerked my arms in front of my face when that picture came up on the transparency. I’m vaguely familiar with the story but had forgotten how it ends, and hello “Damage” i’m a bit sensitive. I must have looked like such a freak squicking at a children’s book illustration, but i don’t really care.

I enjoy that Betsey can say “My friend Jane Yolen... my friend Lauren Berlant....”

This is hot. "Truth and Law": Spike/Lindsey, set during S1 Angel. And there is plot, yo. [I also enjoy the far lighter prequel.]

Oh, and i've been reading anniesj's apocaspander because i read everything she writes, but the latest intallment has me hooked.

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