“There’s no such thing as knowing what you want to say but not being able to find the words,” claimed one of my teachers. “If you can’t find the words, it’s because you really haven’t figured out what you think. Spend time on the idea and the words will follow.”
I just published a new session in my Reading the Bible as an Adult project: Bathsheba, Tamar, Absalom, Solomon: David’s Family Curse? The entry deals primarily with the trans-generational dynamics of 2 Samuel 11-18, how the themes of David’s later life spill over into those of his family. I talk about David’s fukú , the language that Junot Díaz uses in his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao to describe a family curse. But there’s a lot more to discuss in these stories of David and his children, including the way that different people and different cultures think about rape.
In the May 29, 2009 issue of The Chronicle Review, two articles underscored the power of literature to transform students’ lives. In “Life Stories Unlocked by Literature,” Margot Mifflin invited us to witness a female haunted by rape find strength in reading Alice Sebold’s Lucky and a male abused by a babysitter affirm his sexuality in response to Shelley Jackson’s “My Body: A Wunderkammer.” In “Great Books 2.0,” David Clemens introduced us to Joshua, jazzed up on the Great Books, convinced they are the “real deal.” In the classics, Clemens proclaims, students hungry for meaning feast on perennial questions of human existence-a repast far more wholesome and satisfying than the empty calories of an educational diet of multiculturalism and pop culture.Continue reading