Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grapes Of My Wrath

When I was in high school we had to read a ridiculous amount of books during the school year and during the summer.  I wish I could tell you those books made an impact, but all I can remember is my English teacher in 9th grade using the "f" word over and over again as he talked about Holden Caulfield in Catcher in The Rye, how absolutely confusing Catch-22 was and how disturbed I was that at the end (Spoiler Alert) of Ethan Frome that it ended in a sledding accident.  Yeah, a sledding accident.  Totally a literary classic. 

Therefore, since I gained next to nothing to those countless hours of "reading/perusing Cliffnotes" I, along with my book club, (yeah, am in a book club.  What I'm 33?) decided to revisit Grapes of Wrath.  I figured this time around I would approach the book with a more mature and educated perspective than I did at 15, when I first read the book.  Unfortunately, the only new perspective I had was: THEY MADE US READ THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL?  First, this book is insanely depressing and no high school student, especially one at Unionville High School (What, what Indians) could possibly understand the depravity and desperation of this story.  I think I remember thinking, "Cool, they are taking a road trip in a big truck."  Yeah, I missed the point of this book.  Secondly, no I'm not a prude, but there's definitely some mature language and themes going on.  (Again, spoiler alert) the book ends with a nursing girl feeding a hungry man from her breast.  Do I remember this ending?  Actually I do because at 15 you find...well, at 33 and pregnant, you find the whole concept of nursing incredibly disturbing.  I also remember our teacher trying to explain how moving this ending was.  Moving?  Moving me to hurl as the guy next to me looks at me with that, "You wanna try?" look?

So, here I am...still incredibly confused by my high school reading list.  Thanks Unionville for the memories and scars.


Andrea J said...

I heard of a Mom who was reading that book to her high school aged son and I totally went to that end scene, thinking, "wow, that's going to be awkward".

kimber said...

Thanks for ruining the end. Looking forward to what more you will have to discuss tonight! Ha!