Okay, so this post isn’t really about writing per say, but it is about books. More specifically, that one of my classes has issue the strangest book list I’ve ever encountered.
It’s been a while since I’ve had any type of Literature class in college, but I have to have an Intensive Writing Course now that Iv’e finally made the switch to the University of Tennessee (Finally!), and the one I chose is “Themes in Literature.”
When I went to look at the book list for the course, I was quite ecstatic to discover that there’s no actual textbook. There’s another couple of hundred that doesn’t have to be spent. Seriously. Textbooks? They’re insane! My French II textbook is going to be ridiculous!
Anyway… There’s no textbook for the Lit. course, but there are six books that we have to have. They’re all what I guess you could call “classics” (a generous title for a couple, IMO), and I assume they’re supposed to have some kind of overarching theme between all of them.
But if that’s true, then for the absolute life of me, I can not find it.
- Paradise Lost, by John Milton
While I’m not really a fan of the book/poem/whateveryouwanttocallit, (I’ve read it for World Lit. before) I have no qualms considering it a classic. There are some books that most people will read in college, and this is one of them.
- Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe
I admit that I don’t exactly know much about this book. I’ve never actually read it. But I do know the gist of the story. And I can see how the good vs. evil theme of the book ties it in with Paradise Lost, and can understand the theme between the two. I’m actually kind of looking forward to this one.
- Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
This one is a classic. If I was asked to name 5 classic novels, this would probably come to me pretty quickly. (Along with, probably, Dracula, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Probably) But… I don’t really see how it ties in with the first two. Man playing God, maybe?
- Neuromancer, by William Gibson
To be honest, I didn’t recognize the title of this book when I first read it. Though research tells me that it’s clearly sci-fi and/or cyberpunk, with computer hacking and cyberspace. I… really don’t get how it ties in with the others.
- The Handmaiden’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
This novel, I know simply by reputation. A disturbing look into the future, where an entire class of women has been reduced to, essentially sex slaves, indoctrinated, and used for nothing more than the purpose of producing children. While I don’t see how it fits with the first four, save for the sci-fi elements it shares with Neuromancer, I can certainly see how it’s right in line with the last.
- Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Anyone who knows me knows that I despise this book. I don’t like this book, because it scares me. It scares me, because I think that, in feverish moments, this book could be dangerously possible. People have burned books before; people still burn books! How many Harry Potter books have been destroyed because they “promote witchcraft” for children? I don’t like this book because, like 1984, I see it as disturbingly possible. I can see how the dystopian and sci-fi elements tie in with The Handmaiden’s Tale, but Doctor Faustus? Sorry, I just don’t see it.
Anyone have any ideas? Opinions? What the hell do these books have in common?
Besides all being on the same class list, thanks.
Also, I inspired myself while writing this. In a couple of days, I think I’ll do a post with my list of (classic) books that I think people should have read by the time they finish college.