So I am still completely clueless as to whether I’m supposed to be teaching tomorrow. Personally, I think I’m slightly inclined as to not wanting to teach. I’ve got quite used to getting up whenever I please (and then feeling a little bit guilty about it) and working away without a really big scary deadline looming in front of me. But we’ll see. Even if I do have to go to school, this really will be my last day.
It doesn’t surprise me that I have no real feelings about this. Throughout this assistantship I have felt almost indifferent towards teaching, a sentiment which I didn’t expect prior to my year abroad. I thought I might love it, and that would be future career sorted. I would take hatred over indifference, at least I would be able to rule out one possibility for the future. Instead I still have no idea what I want.
I have finally finished Education sentimentale by Flaubert. Not a lot really happens to be honest, but the language was impressive all the same. After having read this incredibly long lesser-known-than-good-old-Madame-Bovary oeuvre, I have turned my attentions to Justine by Marquis de Sade. I have no idea why, I honestly cannot justify this except for the fact that it was a free e-book and I was trying to fill my Kindle with French literature. I maybe should have done some research first.
The thing is, I don’t usually have any aversions when it comes to literature. I am fairly good at distancing myself from books, it’s films where I have more trouble because I can’t control the image in front of me with the latter format. I am the person who read American Psycho unflinchingly on the bus to college and just before my English Language A Level exam (something which required very little revision, evidently). I will never watch the film, although I am told that the book is actually more explicit, something which shouldn’t really surprise me when I recall some of the plot details. I am also the person who cites Chuck Palahnuik among her favourite authors. I’ve read all of his books and the only time I came close to feeling the nausea I have been experiencing whilst reading Justine is maybe during the short story Guts (in the Haunted collection of short stories), and to be fair at least I didn’t faint like many people did when Palahnuik took his stories on the road and read them aloud to the delight (and horror, admittedly) of many.
So why is the book so gut-wrenching? I am approximately 20% of the way through (as my Kindle informs me, one useful property which still doesn’t entirely convince me that this device is in any way superior to books in lovely printed format) and part of me is tempted to give up. I have only ever truly given up on reading two books in my whole life (I eventually returned to Pride and Prejudice though it took some courage…). The first was It, just because I was genuinely petrified. I’ve never liked clowns. The second was Angels and Demons, and I think there is no need to justify myself here, it’s fairly obvious why everyone should give up on this book. I don’t want to give up on Justine, partly because of my pride (also known as stubbornness) and partly because of the fact that I’m reading French which can’t do me any harm, linguistically that is. I think the worst part of this book is the fact that now a routine has been established, and that I know that whenever the pauvre Justine encounters a man (or several, for that matter) I should anticipate what will follow, and this feeling of dread in picturing what will happen to her next (because everything can and will happen) is actually worse than the graphic details. You would think that the same would go for American Psycho, but actually the ‘reality’ always exceeded the gory horrors conjured by my imagination.
I think I need to go back to reading Murakami or something that will cheer my soul and not make me feel physically sick…