Monday, March 22, 2010

Wuthering Heights

My senior AP students and I are reading Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I have never read the novel before. I started it at the beginning of my maternity leave and for obvious reasons, fell behind in finishing it. My students caught up to me last class, and therefore, we finished the novel together. Our last quiz is Wednesday, and I finished the novel last night, taking the quiz myself. I do not like this novel.

The last time we met, though, we had a fascinating discussion on the characters, and what shapes them - nature or nurture, or what combination of both. This includes parental involvement, the location of the two houses (deep in the English countryside, on the moors, with only a small town 15 miles away), and the moorish weather.

I was so tickled by the conversation we had in class. It was fortunate, as well, since I was being obvserved by my assistant principal, but regardless, I truly enjoyed the dialogue. It just goes to show that you do not have to like what you teach, as long as you enjoy teaching. This class has such a nice group of students in it, and it is small, which means we were able to become more comfortable with each other more quickly, and therefore, no one feels vulnerable and everyone is able to contribute to the conversation.

Allow me to explain my thoughts on the novel, briefly - it boils down to this...the characters annoy the hell out of me. They are exceedingly petty, selfish, juvenile, and self-involved. I would not respect or stand to deal with anyone like this in person, so I find it tedious to deal with them in my spare time/class time. But the crux of it all is this - obviously, it is a successful novel if ONLY because Bronte is able to achieve an emotional reaction from me.

The novel is the epitome of Victorian Romanticism/Gothic. I can truly understand, after finishing the novel, why it is taught. And, as stated above, I enjoy teaching it. I just don't like it. I anticipate our final discussion on the novel after we take our last quiz.

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