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Yang Safia On Monday, September 26, 2011



Literature has always been my passion. I love the idea of timelessness that seems to be in these works. And over the years, my interests just sort of grew around it. I love reading about the classics, music and performing arts. And I'm lucky to be majoring in something that I love, I really do.


I encountered contemporary literature. For this semester I had no choice but to take up some contemporary literature papers since I've done all the "ancient" ones. You might be thinking, "Heh. It's contemporary how hard could it be?" And before I correct you...don't worry. I had the same thinking as well.

Often people are intimidated with literature because they might not understand it. The usual complaint that I hear is, "The language is too difficult." or "It's sooo boring." And I get it. One thing I learned in my lectures is that to "get" literature is to become a competent reader. To become a competent reader, you have to actually undergo some training. Nothing physical, obviously,but a training that requires you to shift your perspective in such a way that the way you read is aligned to how the author wants you to read it.

Of course I also found out that if you're well versed with a certain type of genre, namely the classics...literature would be a cinch. My problem when I first started this degree is that I don't read literature. And this is coming from a girl who reads Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella growing up. Luckily I'm interested so no matter how difficult the text is...I am willing to spend time on it.

Right. Enough digression.

I'm doing a modernism paper which deals with Joyce's Ulysses and a contemporary American lit paper. I got a heads up by a couple of lecturers that modernism is going to be tough but I didn't expect American lit to be so...difficult because well, it's contemporary. I've never dealt with contemporary literature before so it was difficult for me to adapt to it. Like trying to adapt my way of reading to it. Especially with Joyce (I've gotten a lot better though). Contemporary literature by every aspect is modern but modern is never simple.

Think about it. We live in a modern era and can we actually say that our life is simple? Far from it I'm afraid. You have all these external influences that disrupt your life which makes it really difficult to comprehend. And this basically applies with contemporary literature (CL). My biggest issue with CL is that the topic discussed is really complex in such a way you involve various philosophies and key human aspects like religion. Note that most modern literature reject the presence of God and mind you, it's really hard to sit in a lecture that discusses why God doesn't exist when all your life, you've been taught that religion is your foundation.

In terms of language, there's no thou(s) and thee(s) so that's one less problem for those who struggle with literature. ;) But then you encounter writing styles like minimalism where you probably encounter a chapter that only has one line in it and they expect you to understand what the author is trying to say. IT'S MADNESS! Especially when you realized that you have no clue what the book is about because the theme is so freaking difficult.

I love old literature (anything before modernist lit) because the times was a lot simpler and their problems are too. The topics are simple like love, friendship and family so it was easy to get. The challenge lies in the language but that's what I like. I love to see how people structure their words to make a sentence so beautiful...also the works are mostly lyrical. I guess I just love things that are of high aesthetic value.

Well what do you expect from a materialistic girl after all? :P

SO yeah...that's my rant. This semester is...a lot harder than the previous but it's okay. At the end of the day I'm happy that I got the opportunity of learning a new extension of literature. I'm starting not to HATE it as much but I really do prefer old lit.

Fun Fact(!) : Did you know that modernist literature actually covers from 1900s-1920s! SO think twice when you enroll to a "MODERN" literature class! :P

PS: Just finished writing my American Lit essay! It's on death and surprisingly the words just flowed nicely! I wonder what does that say about me...


Adeline Bock said...

Love this article Yang. Maybe because I have been literature-fied for this sem. I quite get what you mean. haha. Don't worry! You will be great as usual!