Most of the time, as I’m chipping away at this ridiculous reading list, I’m slogging through the information and trying to stay awake. Today’s reading was different.
One of the books is titled “Feminist Messages: Coding in Women’s Folk Culture.” It is a collection of essays about how women encode seemingly mundane tasks with deeper messages about their lives. For example, one essay proposed that women burn dinner or wreck laundry not on purpose, but as a way to remove that household task from their load. I’ve only read four of the essays included (survival tactic for prepping for comps), but as I read today about a particular folk tale, this statement was just too good to not share:
“Tellers can go all over the world learning other people’s stories and they can tell them well; but the story they need to tell (to themselves at least, if not the public) is the only one they have: their own. That is the base from which we really learn to understand the languages/lives of other creatures; the way we save our lives from the strangers who would consume us for their own purposes.” (Joan Radner said this in a conversation with Kay Stone, who wrote the essay.)
I love this quote; the idea that knowing our story helps us to understand others and protects us from unsavory intentions of others empowers me to hone what exactly my story is. Today’s comps reading was not a complete waste of my time, and that made me very, very happy.
3 thoughts on “More Comps Reading”
i’m a big believer in stories – reading others and telling your own. I think it’s good to read a variety so you can see how similar you are to the world – not in the details but in the essential themes. I think telling your own stories must help with self awareness and understanding – not enough self reflection happens and we’re a world of reactors. then we lose connection with the rest of society – lost in ourselves and as a result lost in the masses.
Sarah, I totally agree with knowing others’ stories to see similarities. That’s probably why I enjoy teaching literature so much. Love your comment–so insightful!
Not nearly as insightful or profound as sarah’s comment…>>You mean all I have to do is ruin dinner or my laundry and I won’t have to do it anymore? Why hasn’t anyone told me this before!!!???