Lit Class with Spooky Schoolmarm, plus Fashion Challenge Day 10

IMG_3649Day 10 is a special item of clothing. I don’t get all that attached to my clothes. This Nightmare Before Christmas scarf is the most special thing I could think of–I like the movie fine, but more than that I love Disney Halloween Time. I’ve only been twice–once for Mr. Robot’s and my anniversary and once last year with the kids, which is when I bought this scarf.

And now for something completely different:

Since finishing Frankenstein I’ve been thinking about all the lit classes I’ve taken, all the dark genres out there to explore, all the great stories and authors I read only because some teacher made me. I don’t have time to reread them all, but I thought I’d take time to reminisce. Here are a few unexpected treasures from my school days.

  1. Shirley Jackson–she’s popular already with goths for The Haunting of Hill House, which has been made and remade, so I would have heard of her eventually. But my first taste of Jackson was The Lottery. My teacher made me read it, and I was too young to really understand it at the time, but that story’s the reason I went back to Jackson later. The Haunting is good, but I prefer We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
  2. Dorris Lessing–Lessing isn’t a gothic or darkly romantic writer at all. I had to read her in high school but I didn’t remember much but her name and her nice writing style when I picked up The Fifth Child looking for summer reading. I was not expecting subtle horror and fairy tale elements or the heartwrenching portrayal of mental health issues, but that’s what the book delivered. It only resonates more as I get older.
  3. Nathaniel Hawthorne–I’m haunted by an internet argument I once had about Hawthorne’s deep, dark genius. I was and still am of the opinion that some of his genius was totally unintended. Hawthorne wrote some great stuff–The Scarlet Letter and the House of Seven Gables were quite good, and Rappaccini’s Daughter is exactly as amazing as my internet opponent thought it was. But people tend not to read the complete works of Nathaniel Hawthorne because some of his works were really not good. He wrote an entire book of badly Christianized Greek myths for pete’s sake. His major theme was the evil within us that must be overcome, and sometimes that made for deep explorations of the human soul, but sometimes that made for boring morality tales. Still, when Hawthorne’s good, he’s really good.

I have no idea whether that was fun for you, but it was fun for me. Did you read and like any of these? Got any other dark-but-not-goth favorites I should add to my long, long list? Things you had to read for school that you didn’t appreciate until later?

 

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