Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Beowulf, the school front

We've just begun reading Beowulf (Seamus Heaney's translation, for anyone interested) in English class and I am very excited. I love those epic tales about heroes and battles and the whole chivalric way. It's actually quite short and not at all difficult to read; though it's written in verse, it's quite readable in the way that Homer or Shakespeare or Milton is readable--in fact, it's probably simpler than any of those--but what I mean to say is that when the story is written so deftly, the language disappears and the story is what infuses your brain.

On the very first page I read one line that had me laughing for about ten minutes. Right after a long passage extolling the virtue and courage of Shield Sheafling (I think that's his name), the founder of Hrothgar's clan, the stanza concludes with the sentence: "That was one good king." Ach, I don't know why I think that's so funny--I guess it just seemed anticlimactic, but then there is the difference between good as in THE LORD DID THIS DEED, AND IT WAS GOOD and good as in I HAD A GOOD DAY. And since the latter is really how we tend to use the word "good" colloquially... I'm over-analyzing, I apologize. But Beowulf. For those interested, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a great lecture on Beowulf that you can read quotes from here. Or you can buy it here from Amazon, even though it's out of print.

On a completely different note, I've been thinking some more about revising my schedule. My parents are pretty open-minded about my education and, since I'm proactive and motivated, they're willing to let me go through with whatever plan seems best to me. I want to do partial homeschooling (or self-schooling, really) and partial school-schooling (for things I can't really learn on my own, namely Spanish, French, and English). But alas, my dad does think I should get a diploma--though as long as I'm going to college I don't see how a high school diploma even matters anymore--and so I have to also take History at the school. But with some shuffling, assuming my counselor is obliging and the classes aren't too stuffed, I should be able to arrange it so that I have English, French, History, and Spanish for the first four periods of the day, then gym every other day fifth period. And thus I should be able to leave school and walk home at about eleven A.M., and without the tedious and totally unnecessary science and math homework, I'll have time to study philosophy and astronomy, learn guitar, read, write, etc. etc. And I will (grudgingly) do math and science work at home as well, and take probably SAT II tests on them at the end of the year to prove to colleges that I'm not just a slacker. I know that's how I'll be perceived by my classmates when they find out I'm "dropping" math and science, but oh well. They'll be scratching their heads for a while anyway because I'm such an un-slacker, hyper-achiever type. That's why it's so hard for me to actually take these steps--because I DO want to go to a good college, and I don't want to be seen as lazy. But I will learn so much more this way, and be less stressed and happier. It seems like it's pretty much a win-win situation.

And I think you all must be bored out of your minds by that post. For those of you who don't care a whit about my school tribulations (read: all of you), just skip the paragraphs that I begin "On the school front..."

And finally, I think I said this before, but please spread the word about my blog! I really want to get more hits and it would be nice to know that I'm not just writing for myself. Once the school situation is straightened out, I should be writing about more INTERESTING things like politics and literature and my other favorite topics. And leave a comment about what you're thinking. Or just to say hi. Bye guys--I'm off to write a thesis paper about Mr. Stevens in The Remains of the Day. Ha.


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