Thursday, December 25, 2008

The English Major

A less positive thought on The English Major -- and not my college degree, which I have no regrets about at all, unless you count not dropping the class with Cowboy Hat Lady, but the Jim Harrison novel.

One of the blurbs, this one from Publishers Weekly, claims that "Harrison is consistently witty and engaging as he drives home his timeless theme: that change can be beneficial at any point in life."

Seriously? "Change can be beneficial at any point in life"? That's it? That's the "timeless theme" that Harrison explores in the book? That's what we should take away from our reading? "Uh, change is good, kids. You know, like, change. It's good -- the change thing."

And I bother to insist, in class, that any discussion of a work's ideas, any exploration of a novel's questions, can (and, perhaps, should) extend beyond platitudes and cliches? Beyond easy-to-digest bromides?

I know that Publishers Weekly is probably not a forum for the working out of ambiguity or difficulty, but, still, that's the best you can do, guys?

No comments: