He said what?

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know what to make of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We. It wasn’t even so much an issue of language. Zamyatin is readable the same way that Wordsworth is readable.

Still, I won’t pretend that I’ve learned the novel’s ins and outs. So when a professor chooses to say something like:

“The text subverts itself,”

I just get a nosebleed.

What does that even mean, the text subverts itself?

As an English major, I have heard some pretty weird things said about literature. Meaning has been layered on where there was none before! But this…

 

This sentence is at the heart of my problems with literary study.

It’s just painful to hear. And it’s even more painful to hear when there are non-majors around and they see me with the same confused look they have on their faces.

I’m embarrassed, too, sometimes that there are no “solid facts” in my major. Everything is built on arguments and dependent on the text and the willingness of the reader to postpone the dismissal of your point indefinitely. When professors say stuff that is crazier than the offspring of a fortune cookie and a bumper sticker, I understand why a comic like this can exist.

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