Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm It.

amo has tagged me (a long time ago at this point) to answer some questions about my highschool years. Reading her answers, I realize mine would be rather dull so I'm adapting the assignment. The questions I'm supposed to be answering are here.

I was homeschooled which automatically knocks off a number of those questions; when you study in your pajamas, what does being expelled look like for instance? How do you determine a favorite teacher (question 7) when you at times decide not to talk to that teacher anymore! In fact, much of the high school experience is rather lost on me and the middle school one only because more pronounced as I taught those grades. I finally understood what people meant when they sadly say that middle school was the worst time of their life and they think everyone should be homeschooled during that time period. Looking back on my homeschooled years (question 9) I certainly don't want to go back: I was awkward and shy, a bookworm who pretty much lived in books and became rather grouchy when made to live in the real world. But more importantly, I think I was too apt to accept what I was taught, mainly because there was little distinction between the home and the school, leading to further confusions of what constitutes "the truth" and what is an opinion. Which doesn't mean that I was uncritical, just that I saw everything through a single lens focused on tradition and Christianity, but both of those interpreted in very specific ways. (Ways which (question 12) I've departed radically from now.)

I came across to posts today that reminded me of where I was and where I've come. In The Middle referenced both Michael Bérubé's recent article on Academic Freedom and a counter by Vanishing Shakespeare . The first reflects my current positions on literature and the roles of life and literature in the other's realms. The latter, a version of my older views. I wasn't as vitriolic about "new-fangled" classes as they are (I am particularly frustrated with their references to how classes such as ones on racial relations or cannibals in the Middle Ages weren't real literature classes, conveniently ignoring that these topics lead into discussions of all sorts of literature, though they wouldn't agree that all of it is literature!) mainly because I didn't know what these courses were about and just thought them boring. Now I find them fascinating! In short, the major difference between how I viewed the world then and now (and how Vanishing Shakespeare views the world) revolves around realizing that the study of literature is not an objective experience: we don't search for Truth in literature, but for how our individual perspectives engage and interact with what we read. While we frequently recognize the truthfulness in much literature, we can never approach it without interpreting it. To be unable to recognize this limits one's ability to recognize the fullness of literature: that it is not just about absorbing, but engaging with it.

At any rate, that was my highschool experience and it's long been a distantly removed part of my life. So ...

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