I guess you could say a large part of being an English major is being uncomfortable. and when i write uncomfortable, i mean squirm in your seats, i don’t want to talk about this, uncomfortable. kind of like health in junior high when they tried to get you to talk about sex. only we’re adults now. we’re supposed to be able to handle it. that just does’t mean i want to. so i put up with it. awkwardly. as do a few of my classmates (some of them actually get REALLY into it. those crazy people =). so whenever a prof even mentions the words psychoanalytic or Freud i kind of freak out. it’s not my favorite of topics.
i chose to be an English Major – not to talk about what we actually talk about – but to be near the books. i DID NOT sign up for classes that make my head hurt and to talk about sex. But it’s part of the package deal. so i put up with. and it’s why i would not recommend becoming an English major unless you know what you’re signing up for.
Then came Ethnic and Minority Lit this semester. if you want a class that took awkward to a new level, this is it. strange, right? it doesn’t initially bring those feelings like a class labeled “women and literature” would, but… ultimately it HAD to get there. it was, after all, an upper level English class. I wouldn’t expect anything else, no matter how much i don’t look forward to it.
The first time we talked about it, one the guys in my class who was a history major, not English totally FREAKED, saying “i did not sign up for this!” he was one of the verbal people I’ve ever met in class, and this had him speechless.
me and one of my friends just laughed, as did most of the class, because we knew it was coming. expecting it, really. so my friend just turned to him and said, serious as can be”just remember, an apple is not an apple.”
i kind of glared at her and said “you did not just bring that back up!” – the apple part coming from another class we had together last spring that kind of made EVERYONE uncomfortable. and it was.
and class went on. continued for the rest of the semester. every once in awhile, we talked about the awkward stuff. and no more complaints were made. then on the last day of class we were talking, and my professor made the comment that last time he had taught one of his books, someone had complained because it made them “uncomfortable.” and it really, really, was.
then someone in class made the comment “but isn’t that the point? to make us uncomfortable?” My professor agreed with the person, and they continued to have a lively discussion.
i kind of skipped out mentally at this point and pondered “uncomfortable.” it’s one of the points of being and English major. Trust me, if I had a choice about some of the essays I’ve written, i would not have done them. I would not have done research that makes me uncomfortable. I would not have done research and written papers that go against what i believe with every fiber of my being.
& yet i do it. almost every. single day. i sit in classes that make me squirm. that are awkward. and uncomfortable. i do it because it broadens my horizons. i do it because it is what makes me feel understood. i do it because Literature demands, to a point, that i basically have to.
but my gosh i don’t do it because i enjoy it…