8 Ridiculous College Classes (…that we’d totally take!)

*BEEP*

*BEEP*

*BEEEEEEEEP*

Ah… the charming chime of your 6am alarm clock, making sure you are on your way to first period, or your 7:30am chem class (what were you thinking in scheduling that!?).

Perhaps your mornings would be a little less grouchy if you were on your way to study the science of Hogwarts or the mythical language of Middle-Earth. With the rising cost of education, you can’t help but think WTF to the following classes but… we’re all secretly jealous we didn’t sign up for these literary electives:

 

enotes_blog_hungergamesbooks

1) A New Look at American Culture with The Hunger Games

This class, offered at American University, explores the literary correlation between Panem, the fictional backdrop of The Hunger Games, and the complex American Society. It’s already super easy to see the comparison between some of our red carpet soirees or high fashion runways (Miss Universe, anyone?) and the glamorous life of Panem’s Capitol.

I wonder if they offer class debate on Team Gale or Team Peeta (and what about #TeamKatniss… she don’t need no man).

 

enotes_blog_nasferatu

2) The Vampire in Literature and Cinema

Interested in literary and mythological comparisons of Dracula vs. Nosferatu (and maybe the sparkly Edward Cullen)? Then sign up for this class at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Let’s hope the class is offered during the daytime… and not after dusk… in a basement… or in a batty church belfry.

 enotes_blog_Hp

3) What if Harry Potter is Real?

First of, let’s clear this up–Harry Potter is real, and all our Hogwarts acceptance letter owls are just a bit delayed. But for the faint of heart or non-believer, head on over to Appalachian State University to discuss some actually very compelling questions: “Who decides what history is? Who decides how it is used or mis-used? How does this use or misuse affect us?” etc.

But, like I said, I’ll see you all in Diagon Alley when the post office clears up this drawn out owl delivery kerfuffle.

 

enotes_blog_hpscience

4) The Science of Harry Potter

To take it one step further, Frostburg State University offers an honors seminar of the science of J.K. Rowling’s magical world. You can even take your studies home with the required reading.

enotes_blog_superheroes

5) The Science of Superheroes

University of California, Irvine offered a class exploring the “science” of gamma rays and spidey senses. They also explored what kind of superheroes might be imagined with today’s scientific knowledge. Maybe… Counter Global Warming Man, or A Million YouTube Views in a Minute Woman?

I’d also love to assume the professor was a strong-jawed, horn-rimmed glasses donner who mysteriously disappeared at the sign of trouble.

 enotes_blog_mothergoose

6) Mother Goose to Mash Ups

If you ever wondered any of the following–“Why did the London Bridge fall down? Is Rub-a-dub-dub really about bath time? Why didn’t an old man live in a shoe?– then this Occidental College class would be for you.

Any class where a paper topic could be Together Again: An analytical analysis of society, race, and Humpty Dumpty is a winner in our book.

 

enotes_blog_farside

7) Far Side Entomology

“If students can laugh about bugs, maybe they won’t squash them,” Professor Michael Burgett says on his class combining the study of bugs with the beloved comics. Burgett’s students at Oregon State University learn science and appreciation of Entomology while laughing along the way – a decisively effective learning tool.

 

enotes_blog_lotr

8) Elvish, the language of Lord of the Rings

Sevig thû úan.

If you had taken this class at University of Wisconsin you’d know I insulted you saying “you smell like a monster” and would have an appropriate response like “go kiss an orc!” (Ego, mibo orch of course).

This class was taught by linguist David Salo, the actual person behind the languages for the films. How cool is that!?


7 Wintery Novels To Cozy Up To

eNoters! We are so close to springtime!

Birds, bees, apple trees, and sunscreen. It’s almost in our reach. But when the sun comes back, we lose our (completely viable) excuse to stay in after school/work… with our fuzzy slippers & snowflake jammies, bingeing on Netflix or absorbed in a book all night.

Let’s be clear: coming from an introvert, I never condemn these practices any time of year. But the other people of the world expect, yah know, some sort of human contact every now and then. *sigh*

So, let’s take advantage of the coming months’ gift of socially acceptable pajama-donning YOU time. Here’s some great winter-themed reads to keep you cozied up inside:

 

walkinthewoods_enotes_blog

1) Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

This “travelouge” from Bill Bryson is a light-hearted, humorous, and endearing tale of a first-hand adventure of the Appalachian Trail. Chock-full of interesting characters and almost a stream of conscious commentary, it will keep you laughing out loud or flipping pages.

You’ll either want to get out and hike yourself, or stay in your reading nook. Either way – contentment achieved.

 

FrozenHeartofDread_enotes_blog2) Frozen: Heart of Dread #1

Not to be confused with the catchy Disney flick, Frozen is the first book in a YA fantastical fiction series is about a mystical, post-apocalyptic world covered in ice (yeesh… I got chills typing that).

You’ll follow along with the protagonist, Nat, as she tried to find a non-frozen haven. Therapeutic, right?

 

lionwitchwardrobe_enotes_blog

3) Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Obviously a classic, but the Chronicles of Narnia stand the test of time as a wonderful winter-themed read to take you away on an adventure. Author C.S. Lewis sets the stage for conquering the Ice Queen and restoring peace & tranquility (and green things!) to Narnia.

I personally keep my copy nearby all winter for a quick escape into the wardrobe of Spare Oom.

 

got_enotes_blog

4) Game of Thrones series

If you haven’t been told by a Stark “winter is coming” a time or two (or twenty), then you’re missing out. These medieval fantasy masterpieces have it all: romance, deceit, politics, triumph, endless twists, and dragons. Rawr.

Pro tip: The audiobooks are a wonderful way to digest the complex characters and plots. Narrated by the legendary Roy Dotrice, they are sure to keep you on your toes (and… ears?) for many, many hours.

 

lifeasweknewit_enotes_blog

5) Life As We Knew It

This novel is told through the diary of 16-year old protagonist, Miranda, as a meteor striking the moon causes the world to dive into natural disasters and extreme temperature changes. Life As We Knew It kick starts a best-selling series as Miranda copes with this new, unexpected world.

Sip empathetically on your hot chocolate as snowpocalypse, tornadoes, and tsunamis run rampant.

 

GoldenCompass_enotes_blog

6) The Golden Compass 

Another classic, the Golden Compass is a go-to during winter. Lyra is forced to chase after a mysterious “particle” dust in the Arctic; the dust is rumored to be able to unite the universe. You and Lyra will face shape-shifting soul creatures (Daemons), dimensional worlds, and armored polar bears (of course).

 

Blankets_enotes_blog7) Blankets

This high-rated graphic novel is a coming of age tale involving first love, budding (and unappreciated) creativity, and loss. The artwork of the graphic novel is as beautiful as the storyline, and might be a good change of pace from traditional novels.

It is a monster of a book (clocking in at 600 pages), but that just means the relatable characters and frosty adventure will keep your fuzzy-feelings around that much longer.

 

Let’s hear from you: what books help you get through the winter months?


Dispatches from an eNotes Roaming Correspondent: New Adventures and Dream Jobs

When I graduated from the University of Washington, I immediately started my dream career.

Was it a position of prestige and wealth, you ask? Am I rolling in Franklins? Am I some rockstar, mogul, or entrepreneur? Have I launched my humanities degree into some lucrative business venture or position of power?

engl

Nope, none of that—after I graduated, I cobbled together several freelance jobs, contract positions, volunteer work, and internships. And now, a year later, I am about to move to Morocco to work as a youth development specialist through the Peace Corps.

For me, a dream career means constant adventure, innovation, and education. I can’t stand staid days of formula and routine. I’m a perpetual student, which doesn’t just mean I’m still considering that PhD path—it means that I actively seek out new ideas and information.

This past year, my first year of Real Adulthood, I have learned so much about myself. I feel secure in my present and excited for my future—and I truly believe that I feel this way because of my patchwork quilt of a career choice.

Everything I’ve been doing has given me insight into my future. I have been working as a tutor and teacher’s assistant, which has solidified my resolve to always work in the education sector. I’ve connected with so many inspiring students—our world’s future leaders and thinkers. I have been volunteering with organizations like the International Rescue Committee and Neighborhood House, which have connected me with grassroots community efforts in my city. I interned with Seattle Arts & Lectures, which meant I got to support amazing programming and work with brilliant local writers. I wrote poems and news stories, which found homes at various wonderful publications. I’m literally doing everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a career: teaching, learning, reading, writing, getting published, and collaborating with smart and caring colleagues.

I specifically want to talk about one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had: this gig right here, writing for eNotes.com as an Editorial Intern. It blows my mind whenever I think about the fact that I actually get paid to annotate Shakespeare plays, examine classic novels, and edit resources for research. When I was a young bookworm, this was what I imagined when I considered the maxim of “following your passion,” but I never expected this dream to come true. I’m living an English major’s fantasy!

Through eNotes, not only do I get to interact everyday with literary greats like Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Amy Tan, Ray Bradbury, and Chinua Achebe—but also with a community of educators and students from all around the world.

Obviously, the same career path doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone is like me—a person who gets excited about analyzing gender roles in Macbeth or linking Transcendentalist theories with Romantic poetry (AKA a complete nerd). But even if you don’t idolize John Berryman or Maya Angelou, the lessons I’ve learned from my work experiences can also apply to you.

This is what working at eNotes has taught me about “dream jobs”:

  • Value yourself and make sure others value you. At the beginning of the year, I had a contract position that I disliked. Although I loved the work itself, my supervisors at that company did not respect me. They manipulated my dedication and consistently shortchanged me. It took me a while to realize that my work was worth a lot more than they thought it was. The people at eNotes, however, are the coolest. This blog post is an indication of how great I think they are! They only asked me to write a post about my post-graduate job-finding experiences, but it’s somehow turned into an eNotes-love-apalooza… Even though everyone else here has a lot more knowledge than me, they always value my input—and that means the world. Plus, in this post-grad world of exploitation via unpaid internships, eNotes actually pays interns! That sort of economic leveling makes all the difference.
  • Go for what makes you feel useful and competent. In other words, utilize your strengths. The advice I used to give was “pursue your passions,” but young people would always respond that they didn’t know what they were passionate about. I realized that there’s no need to pressure yourself into that kind of powerful declaration before you’re ready! Instead, focus on doing what you’re pretty good at. At eNotes, the times I felt most fulfilled were the times I took initiative in something small like suggesting a new way to tell students about our Homework Help pages or writing a particularly solid Text Insight. Your contributions don’t always have to be monumental—it’s little building blocks that keep companies and organizations going!
  • Do work that you believe in. Most of the stuff I did at eNotes kept me intellectually stimulated, but gonna be honest—all jobs will have moments of drudgery. However, if the ultimate goal of what you’re doing matters to you, it’s much easier to get through these moments! So even when my eyeballs were about to fall out from scrolling endlessly down Excel spreadsheets and Google docs, I persevered because of my loyalty to the company. The conversations at eNotes are all about helping students and enhancing the education experience. eNotes makes learning easier without resorting to plagiarism or other shortcuts. It’s a company that is inherently ethical and compassionate, not just because it’s a good business practice! This is kind of cheesy, but it’s true that loving the mission of your workplace makes everything more productive and fun.

Whatever your dream job is—even if you’re not sure what it is—these things are really important. I’m applying these eNotes-curated lessons to the next phase of my personal dream career. During the next two years, I will do my very best to remember to value myself and ensure that others value my work, use my strengths to create useful projects, and sustain work that I wholeheartedly believe in. In Morocco, I will be teaching English, facilitating youth skill development projects, organizing girls’ groups, and other grand adventures. I’ll do my best to keep the eNotes community updated!

Yours truly,

Julie Feng


Food for Thought: 10 Symbolic Dishes from Classic Novels

Food makes everything better. Using it as a motif, or repetitive symbol, in literature makes reading all the more delicious. Who would not wish to take a bite out of  Madame Bovary’s ultra-chav wedding’s Savoy cake, or know for themselves exactly how bad that gruel was in Oliver Twist. Check these ten famous literature munchies and see why they make great food…for thought!

by Michelle Ossa

10. Cucumber Sandwiches- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play The Importance of Being Earnest opens in a glamorous West London bachelor’s pad belonging to the dandy Algernon Moncrieff.  “Algy” asks his butler to prepare cucumber sandwiches for his aristocratic aunt, Lady Bracknell. Algy’s best friend Ernest asks, “Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young?” The issue concludes with Algy’s mindless eating of all of his aunt’s sandwiches prior to her arrival, only to claim to her later that there were no cucumbers in the market “even for ready money.”

So why are cucumber sandwiches considered extravagant? Although cucumbers originated in India over 4,000 years ago it was not until Queen Victoria’s appointment as Empress of India in 1877 that the influence of the national products, such as the cucumber, fully entered the British culture. Once the sandwiches hit the royal table for the first time, the upper and middle classes caught wind of it and made them their signature afternoon tea snack. Following the very Victorian tradition of imitating everything that the Queen did, these once-dubbed “beautiful” people solidified the connection between the cucumber sandwich and “poshness.”

9. Eggs- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

In Frank McCourt’s 1987 Nobel prize-winning memoir Angela’s Ashes, the egg symbolizes hope, wishes, and indulgence. This guileless motif is juxtaposed to the dire living conditions of the Irish Catholic McCourt family. Young Frank tells us in chapter IX that he has plans for “that egg” that he would get the Sunday after his father gets the first paycheck from his new job.  The plan: To “tap it around the top, gently crack the shell, lift with a spoon, a dab of butter down into the yolk, salt, take my time, a dip of the spoon, scoop, more salt, more butter, [and] into the mouth”. Yummo! Eggs are described with particular candor, as they represent a luxury that the McCourts, with their never-ending financial woes, could hardly afford.

Sadly, no one gets any eggs. Malachy, Frank’s father, ends up squandering all of his paychecks, leaving his family to fall deeper into their cavernous money hole. But lady luck helps Frank once he leaves Ireland and reaches America: he gets to work at a restaurant, and hunger is no longer an issue for him! After hunger is satiated in the novel, food becomes a motif for American excesses, complete with dreams of a jumbo shrimp chasing Mrs. Angela McCourt down the street. The novel is not about food, but you get the idea.

Read the rest of this entry »


10 Bookish Costume Ideas for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner! If you’re looking for a costume idea, we’ve collected our top 10 literature-inspired outfits here by level of difficulty, so you can look bookishly awesome no matter how much time you have on your hands.

1. Ishmael, from Moby Dick

enhanced-buzz-4504-1380753969-28

You’re just one name tag away from “Call me Ishmael.”

2. Fifty Shades of Grey

503b54be062d99828942a020b5aa9588

Witty and racy. Head to your local hardware store for some free color sheets and you’re done!  Read the rest of this entry »


And the Nobel Goes To…

PATRICK MODIANO : "ECRIRE, C'EST COMME CONDUIRE DANS LE BROUILLARD".

The Nobel Committee has announced its pick for the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature, and the winner is Patrick Modiano. Not familiar with the French novelist? You’re not alone; Modiano’s celebrity is far more modest than that of fellow candidate Haruki Murakami, as well as last year’s winner, Alice Munro. Yet he is referred to by the Swedish Academy as “the Marcel Proust of our time.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Sanitizing “The Giver”

Brenton-Thwaites-the-giver-lg

On August 11, 2014, thousands of teens and their parents eagerly purchased tickets for the long-awaited film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newbery Award-winning novel The Giver.  My teenaged son read it in junior high and loved it. I loved it too. Like Madelyn L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Lowry’s The Giver has a subterranean angst that readers can feel bubbling under their fingertips as pages are turned, a sense that no matter how calm this world is on the outside, something is irreparably wrong.

Everyone complains when a beloved novel is turned into a film. This may be especially true of science fiction works, as  entirely new worlds depend on an individual’s imagination formed from an author’s words. When one person, a director, substitutes his own vision for that of countless personal interpretations, tempers flare. While most moviegoers understand the necessity of divergences from the original text, other alterations are harder to accept.

Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 879 other followers