Monday, November 21, 2005

Back to Class

It's back to my Personal Essay class tonight. We got a break last week because the teacher had a conference in Chicago. Tonight is the first round of complete full-length student essays. There were only two brave souls who signed up to go first. Actually, I think they were just unlucky because they were sitting at the end of the line when the sign up sheet got passed around. We got their essays ahead of time and I dutifully spent time with them, reading each one twice before making any comments. It took me back to my grad school days of reading freshman composition--writing 101--student essays. These were much better and I didn't have to grade them. I read more Clarissa this weekend. I must say I am a fan of Miss Howe, Clarissa's friend. While Clarissa still finds herself between a rock and a hard place and is all seriousness (though she did lose her temper and say some pert things to her sister!), Anna Howe is the comic relief. In a letter to Clarissa she proposes to help her get out of her situation by offering her Mr. Hickman, the man who is currently courting Miss Howe. Anna finds Mr. Hickman far too serious but suggests that Clarissa would find him affable compared to Mr. Solmes or Mr. Lovelace. And, Anna is certain, that it would not be difficult for Mr. Hickman to switch his affections to Clarissa if he had but a little encouragement. This is good, but here is what gave me the the biggest laugh:

Only that all men are monkeys more or less, or else that you and I should have such baboons as these to choose out of is a mortifying thing, my dear.
What tickles me even more is the fact that a man wrote the book! Rambling on to a different topic...I was sitting with my laptop while my husband was watching The Simpsons last night. I get a weekly update from the New York Times for the Sunday book review. I opened the email to see a photo of Virginia Woolf. My husband looked over and in a panic, quit my email program and closed my computer. "You can't look at that," he said. But you can. I hope it is good. I now have to force myself to forget about it because obviously my Bookman has plans. I was also going to read the Jonathan Lethem essay on Italo Calvino, but had to postpone it since my laptop got whisked away. No time to read it this morning or tonight, so I will save it for tomorrow. Something to look forward to!