Coffe Talk: UVSC vs. BYU
How did I ever manage to read Moby Dick without talking Queer theory? Or Emily Dickinson without talking about unrequited sexual desire? How did I graduate from college without reading any black/lesbian/activist literature? I went to BYU that is how.
So, I guess the most probable question is, is it a good thing? I am going to say---I go with XXXXXX on this one. Here are my thoughts on it.
At UVSC we talk about sex in novels, and that can be odd to my post-BYU self. However, not so much that I want to talk about sex, but, that we have read some really, really, important peices of literature, that if we had screened them, because of the sex in them, I would not have gotten to learn about the rest of the things the book teaches. Dialogues on feminism/feminist movement, racism, ethnic America, and coming of age, in some ways, (not that I advocate sex in books, and I am not saying go out and blindly read these novels), are not as complete without in some regard understanding how their attitudes towards sex effect their lives, or how some cultures have problems with sexual abuse ect.
Next thought; very very interesting to have teachers that are non-LDS. My American Reniassance teacher talks about themes such as, (from Moby Dick) topics of, well, what if we knew everything, would we be stunned at the utter chaos in the world, would it drive us to madness, if we comprehended all that God comprehends, would it make us realize that God is just playing with us as mortals, and/or has very little to do with the world? Has man created God? in order to give him answers, and meaning to pain? Moby Dick is often compared to God, and how we cannot see his head, and he does not tell us his mysteries. And we learn through the story of Moby Dick, (well one reading of it is) that God is cruel.
Edgar Allen Poe addresses topics very similar. Do we make up or own realities and assign reason to things that reason cannot explain? In, The Fall of the House of Usher, the narrator has super-human senses, he senses everything, sight, sounds, smells, the touch of fabrics, to such an extent that it drives him mad! We compared it to, The Murders on the Rue Morge, and how the detective Dupin, has a similar hyperactive tendency, and his is the actue sense of the analytic, he understands everything to the point of being able to see where your eyes are going and read your exact thought. But, these people are "mad" and "crazy" their sense of knowing everything makes them diseased. In, The Black Cat, the narrator murders cats brutally and then is driven to murder his wife, and his madness, suggested by Poe, is that he feels the need to come up with answers for everything. Assign reason to the absurd.
Anyway, point being, these same books, taught by LDS professors, would be entirely different. We would be discussing these from gospel perspectives. We know that God loves us, we know there is reason in pain, and I 100% believe it. I have an unshaken testimony of the Church. I am just simply putting it out there, that I feel like I am gaining new insights and perspecitves on these peices of literature, that I would not have ever had--because I am seeing them through eyes--with a view point very different from my own. There is a lot to be gained there. And, I am really enjoying it!
Maybe I should say it is a tie, that I find value in both ways of teaching literature, one of the things I loved at BYU was being able to understand the world through a gospel context, but I'm also "loving" some things about UVSC too.
Maybe there should be book editors to take out the sex in books, or the offensive terms ect., CleanReads instead of CleanFlicks? Don't know, food for thought.
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