Books I Read In High School From Which I’ve Apparently Taken The Wrong Life Lessons

As anyone who's taken even one university-level literature course knows, you can basically argue for any interpretation of a novel -- especially if you bandy about words like "teleology" and "anagnorisis". As a recovering lit major, I'll admit that sometimes I think it's fun to deliberately misinterpret or under-interpret enduring works of American Lit. Sure, we all know literature hold a mirror to society, but why can't it be a fun house mirror?

Here are a couple of shallow (but valid!) lessons I've drawn from the immortal classics:

The Great Gatsby: As I learned from Jay Gatsby: American Hero: if you’re crazy in love with a woman for ages, stalk her pants off and throw a few kickass parties, you’ll TOTALLY GET HER IN THE END. Also, don’t ever lend your car to anybody.

The Scarlet Letter: New Englanders are some uptight beezies, so don’t waste your energy doing good works about the community to repent for your transgressions. They’ll never forgive you anyway; might as well do a few more clergymen.

War and Peace: Tolstoy was a pedantic old jerkface. Also … something about masons…?

Catcher In The Rye: Angsting over women – be they nice girls or mega-hos – is a total life-suck. Discover the joys of masturbation and you’ll avoid the fuss and muss of ending up in a mental institution.

1984: Holy frig, a rat can eat a human baby. That just can’t be right.

For the record, I hold that these are pretty good lessons. Some of them better than the authors intended. (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Hawthorne.) What trivial life lessons have you taken from the classics?

Posted by TKOG from Not That Kind Of Girl.


The Naked Redhead said...

The Black Stallion taught me that I, too, could be a jockey, and also that any wild beast can be tamed if I'm just patient enough.

Anonymous said...

Animal Farm taught me that animals conspire behind farmers' backs, and to never trust a pig. Also, animals are stupid.

Love in the Time of Cholera taught me that if you stalk a girl for long enough, she'll eventually lay her withered old hands on you. Oh, and that lovesickness is a nasty condition (almost as bad as getting old).

Gloria said...


Dani said...

The Stranger taught me that if you get freaky with someone after your mother dies, you should probably marry them when they ask, even if you don't want to, so they don't have to testify against you.

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