Bad professor! I said I'd post some thoughts about the readings after class, and I've taken this long to do it. Part of it is that we had a good discussion, and I don't have a lot to add. I find both of these essays to be very provocative, especially since they offer two extreme views of dealing with a mother's death. Perhaps these essays represent the two extremes of dealing with grief? Or perhaps they are more similar than we think? What I mean by "similar" is that both authors are kind of in denial, and they distance themselves from their grief, though sex or humor. More for me to think about....
As you read the other essays or re-read these, look for the different levels of writing, how authors move from high exposition/abstraction to intense description (and all the places in between). I'll return to this point in class.
Some favorite quotations:
"I lied not to protect myself, but because it would have been rude not to. To express loss on that level is to cross a boundary, to violate personal space, to impose emotion in a nonemotional place" (Strayed 299).
"'Now that's different,' she'd say. 'A living baby. All my grandchildren have been ground up for fertilizer or whatever it is they do with the aborted fetuses. It puts them under my feet but keeps them out of my hair, which is just the way I like it'" (Sedaris 111)