Time (Clock of the Heart)

Why does life seem to be happening so quickly these days?

Little Layla is now four and a half months old, Natalie and Ryan have officially tied the knot (and are home from their Dominican Republic honeymoon with a nice mystery rash), it’s already October, and school has been in full force for six weeks now.

natalie and ryan

Maybe it’s that weird age thing; the older I get, the faster time goes. Or maybe time really does move this fast, and I’ve just never noticed it until now. (That’s an age thing, too, I’m sure.) Or maybe being completely satisfied with life and love and family and work makes time go more quickly.

Whatever it is, I don’t like it. Slow down.

I haven’t blogged in a while (so sorry), so let’s see what stream of consciousness Aimee can come up with…

School.

This past week, after completing a study of the epic Beowulf and the Medieval Romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, both anonymously written I might add, I showed students “The Last Samurai” (with Tom Cruise). I believe it perfectly exemplifies a mix of epic and romance characteristics, including both types of heroes. Out of forty students, only about four had seen the movie or parts of it, they “thought,” and most were not really that thrilled to see a movie their middle-aged, British lit English teacher was excited to show them. I, in fact, even had one student say to me, “Do I really have to stay in the room and watch this? I hate movies.”

Hmmm. Head scratcher.

the last samurai

In short, for four days, you could have heard a pin drop in my room while the movie was on. THEY LOVED IT. Only one student (out of 40!) was on her phone during just one of those days (she claims she still watched it, though), and the movie-hater student was giving it a big thumbs up by the end of class on day three. SUCCESS.

So now, we’ll debrief the epic/romance elements of the movie, and then we’ll go from the code of the Samurai back to the code of chivalry and courtly love to get us launched into Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. I can’t wait.

[Interruption for audience teachable moment: Chaucer’s tales are set up in a frame story with several pilgrims representing the hierarchy of British Medieval Society gathering at the Tabard Inn to travel on pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The host offers a contest: every pilgrim will tell two stories on the way there and back, and whoever tells the best story will win dinner and drinks paid for by all the other pilgrims. Chaucer spent years writing the tales and actually never finished them, but they are considered–on the whole–a major work of world literature because he wrote them in Middle English, the language of the commoner at the time.]

Anyway, I always assign each student a different pilgrim, and then just like in the story, students learn their pilgrims’ tales, then introduce themselves and tell their stories in front of the group. The pilgrim who tells his tale the best (using props, visuals, whatever) wins a gift card for food somewhere, since the real Tabard Inn is across the ocean. It’s so much fun!

And can we just talk about courtly love for a second? Holy cow. It is amazing to me how society’s beliefs in romance and marriage have morphed over the last nine hundred and some years! Take a look at a few of these:

  • Marriage is no real excuse for not loving
  • That which a lover takes against the will of his beloved has no relish
  • Boys do not love until they arrive at the age of maturity (for girls this was age 12, for boys, age 14
  • When one lover dies, a widowhood of two years is required of the survivor
  • It is not proper to love any woman whom one would be ashamed to seek to marry
  • When made public love, rarely endures (this included being engaged or married)
  • Real jealousy always increases the feeling of love
  • Nothing forbids one woman being loved by two men or one man by two women

Interesting, eh? And can I just say, my, how times have changed.

Time. Dangit. There it is again.

And Jackson STILL hasn’t gotten that damn tattoo.

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