So there I am, reading a classic like Bless Me, Ultima or something. And I’m reading it, and it’s gorgeous, and I can tell that it’s amazing, and I can tell that the author is trying to tell me SOMETHING, but I just. can’t. figure. it out.
I can’t be the only person this happens to, right?
I don’t know what it is about 20th century literature, but I always feel like I’m missing something. I know enough about literature to be able to tell that something is going on, but not enough to tell what it is. Maybe it’s that the literary elements they teach us in school like metaphor and symbolism are more relevant to Romantic literature than Modern and Postmodern. Maybe it’s just that I don’t really know all that much about literature, and I can’t figure it out without a teacher holding my hand.
I really want to like these books. I feel like I almost like them. I just don’t understand them well enough.
Maybe I should start buying Spark Notes or Cliff Notes. Maybe then I would “get” books like The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Maybe if I “got” them better I would like them better.
Maybe I just need to enroll in a literature class at my local community college. Maybe the library offers something like that. Maybe I just need to join a book club.
So, friends who like the classics, what do you do? How do you understand these books that are best appreciated at a deeper level?