I finished The White Forest tonight, tried simultaneously to go slowly and savor the words and to speed through to the ending. And then I sat for a few minutes and missed the concept of English classes. Of walking daily into an hour and twenty minutes of literary discussion. I want a professor to deliver some compact lecture on the Victorian obsession with the occult. I want to “throw some themes on the board,” as we used to say. There was a love triangle in novel, there was a question of humanness, of otherness. There was sisterhood and the familiar notion of a terrible, beautiful female goddess. (here we’ll veer into feminist topics, boldly and on purpose) There was nature, pristine and set in deliberate contrast to industrial London.
I would like to sit in a circle with some bona fide English majors and pare this novel into delicate shreds until we’re all laughing and no longer know when we crossed the wavering line that is over-analyzing.
I suppose what it means to graduate is not that you’ve learned all you’ll need to succeed in the world, but that you’ve learned how to learn on your own.
But honestly, where’s the fun in that?