#Bookadayuk Day 10: A Book That Gave You Hope

The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales - Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen Marlowe

Bear with me, this is a convoluted one.

 

Edgar Allan Poe should probably be one of the last writers anyone turns to for hope. However, I'm not choosing this for the content of the writing, but rather for the circumstances surrounding my introduction to his work.

 

From Kindergarten to my freshman year of high school, I went to a private religious school. For a long time I swallowed the Kool-Aid without much complaint. The "literature" we were exposed to was extremely limited, and most of the books selected for the classroom, aside from the ever-present Bible, were dull, small minded, and simplistic. There were some exceptions- Island of the Blue Dolphins made it in somehow, as did Hatchet (books that easily avoided censorship issues since they were about people living alone in a widerness), but overall the choices were terrible. I was fortunate to have a family that didn't similarly censor my reading choices, so I did a lot of independent reading outside of the school's limitations. However, since our school reading was so far outside of the typical scholarly continuum, I was in the dark about most authors and nearly all of classic literature, even the most famous.

 

Then came 7th grade. My teacher, Mrs. Burns, decided to assign a book report project, with each student assigned a work of classic literature. She catered the choices to our interests and personalities. I was assigned Poe, which was pretty controversial. I later found out that she assigned it to me because she knew none of the other parents would have allowed their kids to read him. Long story short, it gave me hope that there was a wide world of new experiences (reading or otherwise) outside the false limitations set up by my school. It also gave me hope that not all teachers are content to only teach the status quo, but there are people out there that want to encourage learning for the sake of knowledge rather than ideology.