Years ago, I took a literature class called Californian Fiction. One of the books on our curriculum was Steinbeck‘s The Grapes of Wrath. I’d read this one a few years before and was glad to re-read it though I remembered Grapes as a bit tedious, and I think it took me a long time to finish it. But when I did, I was blown away by the way it ends. I can still remember the sensation. It was indescribable – I had never read anything like it, had never been stabbed in the heart by a book that way before – or since then for that matter. I still get a lump in my throat thinking about that book ending.
Imagine my excitement when my teacher described the exact same feelings! He told us how he’d been in college and had finished the novel in his dormitory. He was so overwhelmed by what happens at the end, that he’d felt like running up and down the hallway screaming like a madman. He’d felt like shaking everyone he met and tell them what he’d just read.
This teacher was so passionate about literature. He changed my reading experience of The Grapes of Wrath. Whereas some passages were dragging the first time around, every single word made perfect and beautiful sense the second time. What a masterpiece it is! I need to read it a third time some day …
PS: you might wonder: What’s the point of a Californian Fiction class? Well, our teacher admitted that he just wanted to get back at another teacher for doing a New York Fiction class. That’s the Danish education system for you!