I don’t know if there are any parents out there, but if there are, just let me start by saying I’m so, so sorry.
I have corrupted your children’s minds with the disgusting filth known as “literature.”
As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve spent the past day or two collecting “Holdenisms,” as we try to nail down what it is that makes Holden sound like Holden. We’re trying to define what it means to have “voice” in writing.
Well, today we took our lists of Holdenisms and set out to describe our weekends in the voice of Holden Caulfield. This, predictably, led to a lot a bizarre accounts of trips to the Fashion Place mall and teenage girls’ sleepovers, all told through the eyes of a depressed, snarky 16-year old in the late 40’s. It was a lot like that scene from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where Socrates and Billy the Kid and Napoleon go out for ice cream.
This was some pretty bad stuff, but that wasn’t the corrupting part. If you’ve ever read Catcher, you know that the mother of all Holdenisms is the word “goddam”(sic). Last semester, in Matt Thomas fashion, I figured I’d just give the writing assignment and see what happened. Well, what happened was a “goddam” mess. Many students profaned right past the spirit of Holden and instead channeled the voice of an old drunk pirate with Turrett’s syndrome. I’ll just let you imagine the old guy talking about his trip to the mall, and all the divinely cursed things he saw there.
So this semester I wrote up on the board that there was a limit of 5 “goddams” per writing, and exhorted the class to use them wisely and to the maximum effect. Judge for yourselves the “effect” in the following passages:
“This weekend I slept and played Insane Aquarium on Yahoo!, but the goddam aliens killed all my goddam fish.”
“I slept through the last 5 minutes of church. Then I went home and watched some more goddam movies.”
Ugh. I’ve got more, but I think you get the idea. Anyway, everyone seemed to really get into the spirit of the activity and it was great. We’ve got a whole bunch of li’l Holdens running around the school.
After writing and sharing, we read Catcher up to page 61, leaving 16 year-old Holden alone and depressed in the Edmont Hotel, which, he says, is full of morons, perverts, and “screwballs.” If this isn’t uplifting literature, I don’t know what is.
Yeah. Maybe I don’t know…
Quote of the day: “This book is pointless and profane, but it teaches us a lot about life.” Matt Thomas