Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We're in the middle of the project designed to introduce Holden to modern music. There have been some really great presentations so far. The insights these students have are incredible. For example someone said how Holden sees women, girlfriends as a solution to his problems; yet another said Holden needs a girlfriend. I feel two ways about this: the truth is, I think, that we're all co dependant on somebody, regardless of how we deny it... that's love, right? And love is the whole point of this mess, so, it can't be bad. And I agree, Holden needs a hug. On the other hand, I can understand how teenagers are wary to give their hearts away, especially to the opposite sex. The potential for hurt is great, yet I've always preferred people who love without regard for their own safety. I think Holden might become one of these people. Maybe not. I mean look at JD Salinger. He took the love away. All because he got his feelings hurt. That kind of sucks in my opinion.

I feel the need to name-drop a few of the new bands I've discovered through this project, so here they are. Hollywood Undead, Mewithoutyou, Eyes Set to Kill,TUFF. Also, some of the lyrics I keep on reserve for students who want me to give them a song to interpret (and there are a few) are: "Sweet Jane" The Velvet Underground, "As I Come of Age" CSN, "Heart Cooks Brain" Modest Mouse, "Hey You" Pink Floyd, "Let It Be" Beatles, "Blowing in the Wind" Dylan, "I Am a Rock" Simon/Garfunkel

I think they really sense the humor as well as the sorrow. They get that Holden is torn up over Allie's death. They also get that he doesn't have any friends because he'd be kind of a drag to hang out with. Holden talks about being a good golfer in this book. I think golfing with Holden would probably be pretty fun.

I have been reading a lot of it out loud, because hey, everyone likes story hour, right?


Jennifer Sullivan said...

Holden is the fascinating character in the only book that is officially banned by the school board of Barberton.

I am working on removing this ban. Really great assignments you have created...hope all is well.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Sorry, I had to censor myself.

That's too bad, Jen. I wonder if they've read the whole thing of just a couple of choice words.

Here's a letter I send home:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We’ll be reading The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger this semester in English III. The novel is essential in that it portrays 17 year old Holden Caulfield during a difficult time in his life and will open classroom discussion to topics that are unique to the adolescent experience. The book focuses on the following themes—alienation as a form of self-protection, the painfulness of growing up, and the phoniness of the adult world. Motifs of the novel include—loneliness; relationships, intimacy and sexuality; and lying and deception. The book is a classic of American Literature though its place in the classroom has been contested due to its occasionally controversial content and the frank outlook on life expressed by its protagonist. Those who have read the The Catcher in the Rye rarely object to its content and its place in the classroom. Those who are unfamiliar with the book may have further questions. Do not hesitate to contact me by phone or e-mail regarding this book.

Mr. John Skarl
English Instructor, 330-###-####,

Jennifer Sullivan said...

I will use this letter, which I think is fantastic, in my censorship battle.

What I like most about your letter is that it's not an option. There is no pemission needed.

I'm so tired of the right to "opt out" mindset that many many parents, teachers, and administrators practice.

John said...

Thanks, Jennifer. I wish I could make it even more intimidating by using even more big words and semicolons. That kind of stuff is as good as mace sometimes.