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Oh, how I hated Dickens as I was growing, or rather, tumbling up. I remember the Signet Classic version of A Tale of Two Cities sitting on my desk during the fall of my freshman year of high school, taunting me with its archaic language and hateful characters and seemingly convex plot. I didn’t want to read it. Hell, I didn’t even want to smell it. Dickens didn’t “get” me, and I simply refused to “get” Chuck.
This proved to be a problem on the day our first Accelerated English book reports were due. My teacher (who was–completely unrelated to this story, but fascinatingly–fired the following year for sleeping with a varsity cheerleader) expected three to five pages on A Tale of Two Cities. My friend Margaux had printed and bound hers eons before we needed to turn them in. But I hadn’t read the book three weeks before the due date. Or two weeks before. Or two days before. The afternoon before it was due, I bought the CliffsNotes and read only through the general synopsis before I fell asleep staring at the black-and-green screen on my PC.
When I got a C-minus on my report, which made such groundbreaking statements as, “A Tale of Two Cities is a truly historic piece of literature,” and “Not surprisingly, Dickens shows a magnanimous sentiment of disdain for the established aristrocracy, which he brilliantly shows in the tumultuous story plunge of Darnay,” I wasn’t surprised. But I was especially sickened to see the comment, “You didn’t read the book. See me after class,” scribbled on the back of the last page. Thankfully, my teacher was a sucker for a sweet girl (see above) and eventually agreed to let me re-do the report for a chance at a whopping A minus–But not without teaching me a lesson: ALWAYS BE PREPARED.
I was surprised today when I saw comments from Hillary Clinton–who has been documented as such a perfection-driven, ambitious student of excellence that I’ve always considered her to be Asian–regarding Barack Obama’s hotly-discussed, highly-televised, much-anticipated speech regarding race, religion, and his Reverend:
Either m’lady was the day’s biggest liar or supremely ill-prepared, but something about today’s statement gave me flashbacks of my poorly executed five-paragraph expository essay. If any of you know Hill, can you please remind her of the section in the DISGRASIAN sidebar: “DO YOUR HOMEWORK?” It’s also very important.