Monday, November 01, 2010

No Big Deal, but I Need Books

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," 100 followers and change! We are oh so happy to have you aboard. Our ship will be leaving the dock as soon as Captain Ahab charts the course.

If you've ever worked for a bureaucracy, you know how it is. The inventory lists 40 copies of The Great Gatsby, but the shelves are Gatsby-free. The brand new supervisor just knows someone is using it ... who? ... dunno.

Could it be that no one has used The Great Gatsby for so many years that the copies were discarded? Oh, my goodness gracious! Discard a classic work of American literature? Emmm, yeah. Wouldn't surprise me a bit. There's this idea that lower-income urban kids couldn't possibly understand The Great Gatsby because it's all about rich white people a long time ago. That, and it's got big words.

Yes, Gatsby is a word-fest. However, as you and I know, The Great Gatsby is not about rich white people a long time ago. It's about what we hold dear, our values, our fruitless and exhausting pursuit of perfection and the American Dream. It's also just about the best example I've ever read on the topic of what money can and can't buy.

Long story short, I want to teach The Great Gatsby to my freshman honors class -- two Vietnamese students, four African American students, and six Hispanic students. I have asked the students to purchase their own copies, and I haven't heard from any parents regarding the impossibility of the task. Nevertheless, I would like to have a few copies for my classroom, in case some of the kids either don't have the money or the motivation to buy their own.

The other teachers at the Vo-Tech are staring at me slack-jawed. They think I'm crazy even to propose teaching this book, when there are so many copies of Go Ask Alice just lying around waiting for an honors class to snatch them up.

It may be my fatal flaw, but I need to be motivated myself in order to want to go to work every day. I want to get my students thinking. No more right-and-wrong, good-guy-gets-girl. Time to explore the gray area.

If anyone is willing to purchase a copy of The Great Gatsby for my Vo-Tech, please email me through my profile. The Scribner authorized paperback is $11 new, but used would be just as good.

I'm waiting to talk about Samhain until my daughter The Heir uploads the photos. Monkey Man and I marched in a Halloween parade together -- we are quite a pair! Stay tuned.

4 comments:

Lori F - MN said...

Have you checked the prices at Dover Publishing? As a teacher you might get a discount.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

go to amazon or ebay..you can get them some times for a penny..
i know i have one copy of it some where..but i have my books all boxed up for the move..sorry.

Maebius said...

Agreed, this book must be shared! Looks like some fairly reasonable prices on Amazon, but I prefer "Half.com" for my used books. Great experiences with filling my own library from there!
http://search.half.ebay.com/the-great-gatsby_W0QQ

As for Gastby, I loved the oh-so-awesome and eloquent summary you mentioned the other month. To wit:

It was about a ruthless gangsta who decided that nothing was gonna get in the way of his getting his woman back, even though she was with another dude and even had a kid with that dude. So the gangsta flashes some bling at the girl, and she goes running back, but her new bro's also a billionaire, so she can't decide. For awhile she hooks up with both of them, but in the end her baby daddy fixes it so that the gangsta gets shot. And the girl doesn't really care, because it's all about the money.

Intense Guy said...

Sent ya an email... coming via rum-runner express...