Oct 6 – High school English still sucks

I don’t remember reading Gatsby in school, but I do remember who played him originally in a movie and this is how I picture him as I read it now!


A side effect of a concussion as we have learned in our house is a reduction in cognitive abilities.


Naturally we joke that when you start off with a low bar on that skill set, that some brain bruising might be hardly noticeable! Heh. Aren’t we a supportive bunch?


But honestly, I do see the change in 16. He does take longer to react or respond to conversation here and there. It’s inconsistent. And I can definitely see that he has to work hard TO concentrate when he wants to.


He told all his teachers right away when this time and he missed school for two days because attempting to focus in class just made the headache double in intensity. Once he went back he asked them for help over the next couple of weeks. Extra time on homework and quizzes and postponement of any major tests. They have all been very cooperative.


With English though, he cannot fall too far behind since the class only has so many days to discuss the book they are reading this month – Great Gatsby. So his teacher is allowing him to use Sparks Notes to lessen the reading time. Of course, since I love to revisit the high school literature with him, he asked me to also read the book and help him answer the chapter questions. Happy to oblige, and having seen his anemic scores from the assignments on Ch 1-3, I read through Chapter 4 for him. I read it *knowing* I would have to answer 11th grade English questions.


The next night we sat down to answer the assigned questions and that is when I remembered that I kinda sucked at high school English!


Apparently my literary comprehension skills (symbolism, hidden meanings, interpretations, analysis…etc) are no better than they were 30 years ago.


Chapter 4:

1)      Why is the catalog of Gatsby’s guests included?

2)      Why does Gatsby call Nick “old sport”?

3)      Why does Wolfsheim mourn the passing of the Metropole?

4)      What is ironic about Gatsby’s appraisal of Jordan?

5)      What is significant in Jordan’s remark that Daisy’s voice has an amorous tinge?

6)      Why does Gatsby want Daisy to see his house?


See, my problem is that I read books just to enjoy the story. On its’ surface. Nothing more. I’m not great at appreciating language use and prose and recurring themes and…yada yada. It was such a struggle to answer those questions and it took me skimming back and 16 concurrently reading the Sparks Notes online for us to answer them!

Now, he did get a much better grade on that assignment. He also scored 100% on the quiz in class. So, that’s something at least!

But I honestly cannot give him too much hassle for poor English grades. I get it. Apple. Tree. Yeah.

3 thoughts on “Oct 6 – High school English still sucks

Add yours

  1. God, sometimes you and I are so alike that it’s scary. I read books for the plot and to get attached to the characters. Is that cane that the author keeps mentioning really meant as a phallic symbol? Who gives a damn?

    Also, I thought Gatsby sucked. It’s supposedly one of the greatest books of American literature, but it’s about *nothing*.



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