Category Archives: Essays about literature

Something There Is That Doesn’t Love a (Big, Beautiful) Wall

The “something” in the first line of Frost’s “Mending Wall” is the physical world. To be specific, it’s a phenomenon that shares the poet’s name: frost heaving. A native San Franciscan like me, Frost would have seen frost heaving in … Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Essays about literature, Essays on Politics, Poetry - General, Poetry - Lyric/Narrative, Reviews by Bethany, Robert Frost, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘And Don’t Have Any Kids Yourself’: Philip Larkin, Charles Darwin, and the Biology of Choice

In graduate school I loved Larkin’s poem “This Be the Verse” – who doesn’t? – but I was determined to find it somehow ironic. I’d like to say that I had read enough of Larkin’s to know that much of … Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Essays about literature, Philip Larkin, Poetry - General, Poetry - Lyric/Narrative, Reviews by Bethany | Leave a comment

Rapio, Rapere, Raptus Sum: Sexual Violence, Natural Selection, and A Song of Ice and Fire (by Bethany)

I’ve spent a good chunk of my time these last few months avoiding articles about Game of Thrones on social media. Every Monday morning while Season 5 was still airing, my Facebook feed overflowed with outrage about the violence and … Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Essays about literature, Fiction - Fantasy, Fiction - general, George R.R. Martin, Reviews by Bethany | Leave a comment

The Great Gatsby as Complicated Comedy (by Bethany)

I’ve known for a long time that The Great Gatsby is a shape-shifter. If Gatsby is its protagonist (and it’s not at all clear that he is), the novel follows the trajectory of a tragedy, in which a hero falls … Continue reading

Posted in Essays about literature, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fiction - general, Fiction - literary, Reviews by Bethany | Leave a comment

The Parallel Lives of Jay and Grey (by Bethany)

When I used to teach The Great Gatsby, I spent the better part of a class period on the vehicles depicted in the first three chapters. My goal, of course, was to prepare the students for the climactic scene when … Continue reading

Posted in Authors, E.L. James, Essays about literature, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fiction - Fantasy, Fiction - general, Fiction - literary, Reviews by Bethany, TV/Film Adaptations | 3 Comments

Harper Lee, Satirist, Part One (by Bethany)

I reread To Kill a Mockingbird a few years ago, after reading it several times in school. Now I’m reading it again. It’s good, of course, although I don’t think I will ever love it in the way some people … Continue reading

Posted in Essays about literature, Fiction - general, Fiction - literary, Fiction - Young Adult, Harper Lee, Reviews by Bethany, Teaching | Leave a comment

A Reading List for Introverts (by Bethany – Part I, I hope)

I took a four-day narrative writing workshop in February, and the instructor (who was excellent) had a collection of aphorisms he suggested we use when we write. One of them was “Don’t isolate your characters.” In other words, characters should … Continue reading

Posted in Book-related personal narratives, Essays about literature, Reviews by Bethany | 4 Comments