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While I wasn't quite the overachiever in school like my friend [info]katherineokelly, there were some classes where I received better grades than in others. I didn't always do my homework, as I should have, and studying is actually beyond me. (I actually don't know how to study.)

One such class I wanted to take was English Literature, and I wanted to take it over American Literature, though I'm sure I had some AmLit in there somewhere - I remember reading the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and finding it boring*. I'd discovered Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings in the 8th grade and found the other side of the pond, as they say, to be fascinating. At my high school for when I attended, it was one of those classes that they needed enough people to fill it in order for it to be on the student's class schedule. Lucky for me, enough people signed up for the class so I could take it. Unfortunately for me, the teacher presiding over the class was one no one liked really well because she "yelled" often and therefore was known as a bitch.

Did this teacher yell a lot? Of course, she did. But, as I discovered in this class, it was most often because the students went out of their ways to be disrespectful towards her. I also found that she could be quite nice when the students weren't giving her major attitude. Of course, at the same time I discovered this, I realized it was because the upper classmen from previous years had often said, "Oh you don't want her. She's a bitch, and she yells a lot". Amazing how that can shape a person's view before meeting another person, yah?

Anyway, because I liked the English Lit class, I made sure to at least get my homework done before it needed to be turned in to the teacher. Also, in class, when we would go over the homework assignments and the teacher asked questions, I was the one raising my hand to give the answers . . .until the teacher finally told me to stop answering the questions so much in class because the other students were getting their answers from me. In fact, to keep me from answering the questions in class, she had me grade the freshmen spelling tests until the end of the semester.

I look back at that, and I laugh. It was the first time in my life that a teacher told me to refrain from participating so much in class. I've really not heard of it happening ever since (though my mom was told by another teacher to start telling my younger brother to bring a book to class and read . . . little brother is smart. He'd get done with the assignments before anyone else and start talking to some of his classmates).

As for my comments on the Grapes of Wrath . . . I'm not saying it isn't a great piece of literature. It's remembered and loved for a reason, but, when my teacher (same one who taught my English Lit class) asked me what I thought of that book, I replied in all honesty I found it to be boring. In fact, the opening chapter with the turtle was more fascinating to me than witnessing how the family in the book survived its ordeals. My reply astounded my teacher, so much so, she asked me why I found it boring.

The truth of why I found the Grapes of Wrath to be boring is I already knew (and still know) the plight of the poor from the Great Depression era, which is when Steinbeck wrote that title as well as Of Mice and Men (a title I found more interesting than The Grapes of Wrath). Steinbeck, when he wrote his stories, he was bringing to light the calamities befalling everyone. For what he did, his works will always be remembered and be considered classics. Still, it would be like reading fictionalized stories of current events, like the Occupy Wall Street protest or the fighting in Libya or even tornado-ravaged Tuscaloosa. Yes, they might be stories of great courage and triumph and how the human spirit can overcome anything, but if you already know the real stories, the ones that have already taken place, to read a fictional story of the same events, to me, would be boring. The emotional hook wouldn't be there, at least not for me. I just won't say such stories won't ever be a success because one never knows what will be a hit and what won't be when it comes to books. :)

Anyway, a slight excerpt of my life . . . and all because I read Katherine's entry on how well she's doing in one of her classes (which I'm proud of her for doing so well).

Posted to livejournal on March 1, 2012