In my five and half years of being a TESL student, we are led to believe that literature is good for us. It contains timeless, universal values that we can learn from. We can discover the workings of other culture and societies of a different time. It basically reflects life. So if you have zero knowledge on literature, you'd think the books are all written by old farts in very old English, purposely twisted to make your understanding harder that preach goodness and morality.
You are so fucking wrong.
The literature world ain't some rainbows and butterflies stories that teaches moral values. It's rather the contrary.
I don't know about other TESL courses in other institutions, but the texts that are assigned to us are pretty dark, twisted and depressing. The characters are mostly psychotic, sadistic and very horny. And most of the characters die in the end.
These are ten of the sickest texts we studied (that I could remember):
10. The Cane in the Corridor by James Thurber
It's about a sadistic man who drove his already crazy friend nuts by talking about mental hospitals and whatnot just because his friend didn't visit him when he was sick. What a child.
9. Paul's Case by Willa Cather
It's about a young man who jumped towards a moving train because his father wanted him to become an accountant when all he want to do is a musical.
8. The Prussian Officer by D. H. Lawrence
It's about a masochistic Prussian officer who loves to beat the shit out of his orderly who happens to hero worship his commander. So brutal, so sad, so gay.
7. The Rocking Horse Winner by D. H. Lawrence
It's about a kid who rode his rocking horse whom he believes will make them win the lottery, till he fucking dies.
6. Territory by David Leavitt
A man was caught doing the doggy with another man by his mother. On her perfectly manicured lawn.
5. The Landlady by Roald Dahl
It's a about a crazy wrinkled bag of a landlady with red finger nails who kills young boys who come in to stay for the night, disembowel them and preserved them like stuffed animals.
4. Sredni Vashtar by Saki
It's about a despaired and sadistic kid who wishes his guardian dead. And when she did die in a fire after she was attacked by his pet ferret, he smacked his lips and enjoyed his toast. Yum.
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
It's about a man who decided to get back on his lover for not wanting to fornicate with him by torturing his lover's husband - by marrying and abusing his lover's husband's sister. He also fucks up the relationship of his married lover's child whom is in love with his child. Yes, their kids are actually first cousins. Eww.
2. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
A crazy ass bitch killed her boyfriend after he said he wanted to ditch her. And she had necrophiliac sex with her dead boyfriend all night long, all year long.
1. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
It's about a man who accidentally killed his father and married his mother. When he realised he had been fucking and sperminating his mom, he jabbed his eyes with pins from his mom's dress. His children are also his siblings. Good thing he's bloody blinded now. FHL.
So you see, these writers are definitely not just nice old farts living the good life. Most of them are mentally ill or have a disturbing childhood. The more fucked up your life is, the greater your acknowledgement in the literary canon.
And boy we've learnt a lot from these texts. I just hope none of us would go crazy and jump towards a moving LRT train when we start teaching next year.
Or go on a killing spree.