The Students I have this semester are brilliant! I just finished my first week teaching and in one class they’ve read Chapter iv of Moby Dick. They did the most amazing readings of Ishmael and Quequeg waking up together in “The Counterpane.” Now I’ve always found this a bit homoerotic, and I led them towards this reading, but the individual close readings that they did were amazing. They took this subject and found amazing textual support for this un-usual reading of Melville’s classic.
In my Black Lit Class they came up with the most amazing definitions of, and explanations for, invisibility in the first two chapters and the preface of Invisible Man. The cultural understanding of the students far outstrips their book knowledge to date: though I’m sure they’re not missing anything. Their insight and eloquence makes me sure that this will be a fulfilling class this semester.
Re-reading the Trueblood chapter this morning I thought of his “coupling” as a rape, though he doesn’t portray it that way. His unwillingness to leave his family, an apparently noble act, is tied to simplistic ideas of masculinity. That’s just the latest thought.