Monday, April 14, 2008

what we learned this semester

Today was the last day of class for the Brit Lit section I TA'd for this semester. We've given reading quizzes randomly during the semester to encourage the students to do the reading and be in class, and today we gave one final quiz: list five things that you didn't know about British literature when you started the class. Herewith, some of my favorite answers.

  • ... that Chaucer is dirty-minded and that Beowulf is so long and never should have been turned into a movie.
  • Old English is, like, impossible to read.
  • That a lot of great writers had a second job spying on people.
  • How freaking awesome the Celts were.
  • That because I'm redheaded I'm related to Jesus. [Yes, he's kidding.]
  • Henry the VIII had a difficult time with his 5 [sic] wives.
  • Not everything I saw in the Beowulf movie is factual.
  • I learned about the Popish Plot, and also that I like how that sounds.
  • Daniel Defoe was a political genius of a writer. I think I have a new hero.
  • John Donne wrote poems that weren't about sex.
  • I didn't know about the two forms of satire, horatian and juvenile. [sic]
  • I learned a lot about the [assigned] readings and their significance in literature.
  • I learned that there was a lot of amoral literature before the 1960s.
  • Shakespeare had contemporaries.
  • I learned that life is pretty good now compared to England in times such as 1665-66 or the bubonic plague, or the Hundred Years' War, or the time after the Romans when they kept getting invaded, or the Wars of the Roses, or when it was deadly to be a Catholic, then a Protestant, then a Catholic again.
And there were a few that made me feel good:
  • ... a new found love for Milton's Paradise Lost.
  • I learned about Milton! Surprising, but I never actually learned anything about him in the past. I am going to take a class about Paradise Lost and Hamlet in the fall.
  • Sensibility refers to affectation of emotion, delicacy, etc. from the 18th century. Now Sense and Sensibility makes sense!


Heidi said...

Oh my goodness.. you and SMC did that one just for kicks and giggles, didn't you!

Octavia said...

Of course. They're all stressed out about finals and whatever else, and it makes them feel good to get five points just for showing up. Plus we needed one more five-point quiz to make up the total points possible that we listed in the syllabus. :) A freebie seemed like a nice gesture.