A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, March 14, 2005 :::
We start quickly with one of life's mysteries: How can Liv Tyler look so obviously like her dad and still be beautiful?

That said...

A Mind That Suits is one sixth of the way through his annual trek through Middle Earth, but he had to break off quickly last night because he realized with some horror that he was to begin teaching The Great Gatsby on Thursday. The first chapter is masterful--it embodies a note you will find on the last page of The Last Tycoon, "ACTION IS CHARACTER." Not for Fitzgerald the clunky opening of so many novels. People are introduced doing and saying things.

Which means it is impossible for foreign readers to understand. The last time he taught it, the students got bogged down. So a certain pudgy, balding English teacher is going to dash off a description of the characters and the general situation. The students will have a hard enough time understanding, in Chapter 2, what the fabulously wealthy Tom sees in Myrtle, his girlfriend. She is poor, plump, and demanding, and "Her face...contained no facet or gleam of beauty." This time through, it seems like a question of complete dominance, and calls to mind the shenanigans of a certain Arkansas-bred politician. The analogy will perhaps help the students understand the situation. Her description, the students will have no trouble understanding. If they do their homework.

Chapter 1, they would not understand, particularly this class, and so this afternoon will be given over to writing up a quick summary for their use.

However, on Sunday night, said English teacher did NOT want to tear away from Middle Earth. Until he did his duty and was reminded again of just how great Gatsby is.

And was reminded that few people are confronted with that kind of "dilemma." And so he should be grateful for his lot in life.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 12:48 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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