Moje lockdownowe lektury nie były planowane – zostały podyktowane przez nieoczekiwane zakupy w Oxfamie. Najbardziej przypadkową książką było Dead Poets Society (1989; “Stowarzyszenie Umarłych Poetów”), bo raczej unikam “powieści” pisanych na podstawie filmów. Tym razem postanowiłam przypomnieć sobie historię znaną z ekranu, a gdy czytając natknęłam się na coś, czego tam nie było, postanowiłam podzielić się dłuższym cytatem.

Dzisiejszym wpisem puszczam oczko do zmagających się z esejami i pracami zaliczeniowymi, a najbardziej do tegorocznych maturzystów 😉

I oddaję głos Johnowi Keatingowi, nauczycielowi z Welton Academy…

Jest rok 1959, grupa dorastających chłopców biega w Conversach i rozpoczyna edukacyjną przygodę pod hasłem “Carpe diem” z – niekonwencjonalnym dla jednych i dziwacznym dla drugich – nowym nauczycielem literatury angielskiej…

Pamiętasz słynną scenę wyrywania kartek nieszczęsnego wstępu na temat rozumienia poezji, autorstwa J. Evansa Pritcharda, PhD? To teraz zapraszam do zapoznania się z poradą dotyczącą pisania esejów, której nie było w filmie:

“Gentlemen,” he said, “today we will consider a skill which is indispensable for getting the most out of college – analyzing books you haven’t read.” He paused and looked around as the boys laughed.

            “College will probably destroy your love for poetry. Hours of boring analysis, dissection, and criticism will see to that. College will also expose you to all manner of literature – much of it transcendent works of magic that you must devour; some of it utter dreck that you must avoid like the plague.”

            He paced in front of the class as he spoke. “Suppose you are taking a course entitled, ‘Modern Novels.’ All semester you have been reading masterpieces such as the touching Père Goriot by Balzac and the moving Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, but when you receive your assignment for your final paper, you discover that you are to write an essay on the theme of parental love in The Doubtful Debutante, a novel – and I use the term generously here – by none other than the professor himself.”

            Keating looked at the boys with a raised eyebrow and then continued. “After reading the first three pages of the book, you realize that you would rather volunteer for combat than waste your precious earthly time infecting your mind with this sewage, but do you despair? Take and F? Absolutely not. Because you are prepared.”

            The boys watched and listened intently. Keating continued to pace. “Open The Doubtful Deb and learn from the jacket that the book is about Frank, a farm equipment salesman who sacrifices everything to provide his social-climbing daughter, Christine, with the debut she so desperately desires. Begin your essay by disclaiming the need to restate the plot while at the same time regurgitating enough of it to convince the professor that you’ve read the book.

            “Next, shift to something pretentious and familiar. For instance, you might write, ‘What is remarkable to note are the similarities between the author’s dire picture of parental love and modern Freudian theory. Christine is Electra, her father is a fallen Oedipus.

            “Finally, skip to the obscure and elaborate like this …” Keating paused, then read, “ ‘What is most remarkable is the novel’s uncanny connection with Hindu Indian philosopher Avesh Rahesh Non. Rahesh Non discussed in painful detail the discarding of parents by children for the three-headed monster of ambition, money, and social success.’ Go on to discuss Rahesh Non’s theories about what feeds the monster how to behead it, et cetera, et cetera. End by praising the professor’s brilliant writing and consummate courage in introducing The Doubtful Deb to you.”

            Meeks raised his hand. “Captain … what if you don’t know anything about someone like Rahesh Non?”

            “Rahesh Non never existed, Mr. Meeks. You make him, or someone like him, up. No self-important college professor would dare admit ignorance of such an obviously important figure, and you will probably receive a comment like the one I received.”

            Keating picked up a paper on his desk and read from it to the class: “Your allusions to Rahesh Non were insightful and well presented. Glad to see that someone besides myself appreciates this great but forgotten Eastern mater. A-plus.”

Dead Poets Society. A novel by N.H. Kleinbaum. Based on the motion picture written by Tom Schulman. Kingswell: New York, Los Angeles, 1989, pp. 111-113