Toiling in the Labyrinth: On Reading Literature Critically

Toiling in the Labyrinth: On Reading Literature Critically

My purpose for reading literature critically rests on two sloping planes. On the first plane is pleasure—experiencing the epiphany of understanding, a resolution to my inquiring mind. In other words, the Aha! moment. It’s the immediate gratification of critical thinking, which may be a purpose in of itself. However, beneath that first pleasurable plane, for me, is the second, more self-reflective plane.

Embracing the Personal

Embracing the Personal

“It all just feels so… personal.”

N is a new student of mine, one who has worked in the theater industry for years, but never written a play before.  He called me before our first week of class, and I could tell he was feeling intimidated by the process of playwriting.  We discussed some exercises he could do and some of his favorite plays and playwrights, and I think I assuaged the majority of his concerns.  His one lingering reservation:

“It’s just so personal.”

On Survival: Dear John McCain

On Survival: Dear John McCain

Dear John McCain:

I think of your tap code late at night when I am lonely. You broken and spent in the Hanoi Hilton tapping out “Are you okay?” to the guy on the other side of the wall.

“My name is Ernie Brace,” the taps from the prison cell next to you kept declaring. “My name is Ernie Brace.”  “My name is Ernie Brace.”  Then sobs.  Ernie Brace so overwhelmed by human contact he could only tap his name. 

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