Monday, January 24, 2005

[sic]

I'm writing this during class, which is to say I'm writing with pen on paper and will probably make multiple spelling errors, none of which will appear in electronic form if I can help it.

My brother asked me last night why I haven't been posting and today I ran into Aaron who was off to the library to read blogs. Point taken.

I haven't been writing because I've had a crap guy week and after two blogs, plus multiple other drafts, I got tired of writing about it. But I think anyone can relate to not being able to think of much else after rejection and other matters of the opposite sex. This blog will hopefully be a break from past trends, but I make no promises.

I am sitting in English 363, American lit 1914 to 1960, listening to yet another clean shaven, close cropped, tie wearing male present on how the feminine functions in literature, in this case My Antonia. May I be so bold to ask what makes guys think they can understand and explicate the feminine? The best paper I ever read on feminist criticism and l'ecriture feminine was by a guy. Granted, he was married. Maybe his wife wrote it. Anyway, this male/female dichotomy (the ever abused friend of the English major) seems to be appearing in most of my classes, most noticeably in The Dean and Gideon Show (not to be confused with The Gideon and Dean Show). Spurred on by the inexplicable, I have taken scrupulous notes this semester, including pages and pages on this male vs. female concept. What is most striking is that women rarely factor in the literature we're reading and by virtue of their absence, we're allowed to talk about them, use the feminine in correspondence with the nebulous other.

On the flip side, and I apologize for dragging in some of "crap guy week" here, but it is applicable, do we honestly have a definition of the feminine and the masculine anymore? The feminine is the irrational, the other, the mysterious, the weak, the fairer, the innocent. It all depends on what person you talk to, what text you read. And the masculine is the known, the strong, the heroic. The masculine is Odysseus, Dante, Virgil, Siddhartha, Newland Archer. The feminine is something we avoid, something we escape in literature because it's oppression and unfamiliar. The masculine is something we embrace, something we feel safe with. Isn't it? "Crap guy week." Right.

His idea is being the man, taking care of the woman, standing as sentinel over her at all times. ("His" here refers to a specific person.) His concept of a relationship is her (any her) waiting to here how his day went without telling him anything about her day. His idea is that she should be seen and not heard.

Maybe I need to remove literary theory/analysis from real life. But then what is the point of literature? Is it just a bunch of pretty words that create a pretty picture and then we step away, sigh, and say "that was nice" and then forget about Billy Pilgrim and Galadriel and Valancy? If we believed that we wouldn't spend our time reading. We wouldn't be English majors. We'd go study science, we'd break down life into numbers and decided dichotomies rather than allowing the postmodernists to break everything apart so that we can piece it back together again. (Note: I am now sitting in English 365, American lit 1960 to the present talking about The City of Glass. Slightly different mode of conversation here.) Does the Elephant Love Medley accurately or remotely resemble the way we approach life? My brother is defined in many ways by his music. We are all defined by our culture, whether it is the acceptance or rejection of our culture.

Now somebody tell me to pay attention.

2 comments:

Special K said...

1. Woah.
2. The Elephant Love Medley defined most dinner conversations at my apartment for the better part of a year. (Take that for what you will.)

KapkaVictim said...

WHAT? Come on, I don't think girls have a monolopy on Gender studies. It's not just about feminine, it's not just about masculine, it's about relationship between the two. Guys can have a very good sense of this. It's like saying girls can't talk about marxism because they've never been blacksmiths in a factory. I think Dean has good feminist things, as does Dr. Culter, my brothers, etc. Bah.

 

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