The title is a song title by this spectacularly awful and awfully spectacular band called Math the Band. As far as I recall, the song is unrelated to Marx but the title had me inwardly giggling all through class.
In a strange way, the thing I kept thinking about during today’s discussion of Marxism was the requisites for canonisation. Using Marxism was such a useful tool to understanding the prologue and tale that I was a bit taken-aback when Dr. Seaman mentioned the forthcoming psychoanalytical approach. We’re going to read another article which will contribute just as much to the understanding? Is that even possible? Of course it is, and Tompkins rightfully asserts that this success of continued scrutiny is what makes a work a classic. Theoretically, I accepted this before but in my British literature class, we’ve read a lot of different works in one or two different ways and then moved on (as it is a survey course) so I haven’t encountered the full breadth of Tompkins’ definition’s implications since reading about it. Now, I’m slightly dumbstruck at the truth of the definition because it encompasses so much. It’s fascinating how we search for a very specific strength in a work of literature to define as “good” when in reality the goodness is incredibly broad and that is what makes it literature. Also, it was cool how using the Marxist approach released discussion on the feminist aspects of the work while our class discussion, which was more structural, didn’t. I like how the different treasures of the work are unveiled through use different tools.
Monday’s class was such a worthwhile way to spend a class period. I am so glad it was included in the schedule! As I said in class, there were a lot of wildly disheartening statistics and truths presented to us but somehow I left feeling uplifted and excited for this world of bitch jobs and poverty. A huge fear I have is of grad school– that it is this awful mammoth of debt, attendance of which I am in denial but undoubtedly must complete in order to have a successful career in publishing. I suspect it is because I have a close friend who went for her doctorate in psychology and ended up entering the real world with a lifetime of debt before she’d even begun facing life’s bigger monetary commitments (house, kids, etc), but I equate grad school with burdensome debt. The professors’ advice of not going to grad school unless you’re paid to do so was a truth I really needed to hear to reconcile my expected and feared future.
Some truths weren’t so easy, such as that you should choose the school by program and money, not location. My current plan of moving to Chicago after graduation and figuring something will work out there miiigghhhttt not go well with this very sensical advice, so that’s something I’m working on coming to terms with. Our discussion even veered into the post-grad life we aspire for, that of having a job. Again, though, there was no room for delusions as they stated that most jobs will be lots of work for little money. Carol Ann Davis mentioned getting comfortable living off of little money and how, when you want to do something you love that doesn’t pay well, you will always be able to find ways to cut costs in order to make that possible.
I suppose, generally, my optimism stems (as I’ve found most of my optimism does) from acceptance of a pessimistic view. I’m prepared to be in school for a long time, to do jobs I hate that pay well when it’s necessary, to do jobs I love that pay poorly most of the time, to maybe deal with some debt, to sacrifice certain luxuries for a fulfilling experience, et al. I can see finding happiness in that, so if it turns out to be better than this, jolly good! If not, swell! If it’s worse, that’s unfortunate but I don’t feel like there’s a giant black hole of doom waiting for me a handful of years down the line.