“He didn’t take notes or keep an expense account. He was just ballin’. Live in the moment—that’s the theme of this course, isn’t it?” my student, M, observed.
Having finished our discussion on Whitman’s Song of Myself (with the students collaborating on modern day rewrites --an activity of which forward-thinking Whitman totally would have approved) we turned our attention to John Steinbeck’s cross country adventure, Travels With Charley. I asked the students to do some background research and then report back to class with their findings. I will let them bring you some of the particulars of this text.
On Charley: “Of course Charley is a dog,” R noted, after another student’s announcement that Charley was a Blue Poodle, “man’s best friend.”
“I didn’t really know,” J said, sheepishly. “I figured he was a gentleman friend.”
On Steinbeck’s Family: “They weren’t happy with the trip. He had a heart condition and they were like, ‘Dude, you’re going to die.’”
On Reports of Allegations of Embellishment from Steinbeck’s Son: “Why was the son such a jerk?” K asked.
“Probably because Steinbeck took the dog instead of him!” S laughed in response.
On Steinbeck: “I had no idea this was the same guy that wrote Grapes of Wrath!”
And so we begin. It’s going to be a fun ride! You in? We're reading Part One this week--grab a book and join in the fun.
This is the third installment of our new Friday Feature exploring the literature I'm teaching my sophomores in our Great American Road Trip course. I'm so excited to be sharing some of my favorite books--stories that have inspired me and fed my sense of adventure and belief that anything at all is possible if you just set out and explore. Glad to have you along for the ride.