On Sunday, December 1st Geneseo and the surrounding upstate areas were forecasted to have a terrible snowstorm. Due to this SUNY Geneseo opened their residence halls on Saturday and canceled classes on Monday; this of course was disastrous for me. I spent my entire Sunday trapped in JFK airport because of the heavy hail in Rochester New York, and as you can imagine it was not good weather to fly a plane in. Instead of canceling the flight JetBlue continued to delay my flight until it was 5 o’clock and being the amazing academic student I was I choose to not write my tenth blog post while waiting for my plane, instead deciding to call my mom to complain about my flight and watch Disney Plus. But while waiting for my flight I began to make quite a few comparisons between Percival Everett and the snowstorm that caused me to spend my Sunday trapped in gate sixteen, terminal seven. Snowstorms are rather unpredictable and send us on rollercoaster rides; wondering if the electricity would be cut off due to strong winds, stocking up on food just in case you were trapped at home, pulling generators out of dark corners, and finding all the blankets in the house to prevent freezing. See Everett does this in a literary sense, of course. Everett is a snowstorm, he turns the lives of his characters upside down and then does the same to his readers; for the beginning of the class I was confused but at the end Everett’s text molded me like a ball of putty and his snowstorm left a beautiful and almost perfect picture behind. This is not until he has left his reader playing scrabble with their mind at 4:10pm when the lecture has ended.
Let’s call Percival Everett the snowstorm and his texts covered in this class the generators, the power has been cut and now you are left with re: f(gesture) and I Am Not Sidney Poitier to keep the power going. We are stuck in Welles 216 devouring I Am Not Sidney Poitier, where Not Sidney is the first victim of snowstorm Everett. Not Sidney began his educational journey with tutors teaching him in his wing of Ted Turner’s house, then continues on to high school where he is raped by his history teacher, and lastly decided to buy his way into college. Now, as Professor McCoy would say “can you unpack this for me” and I sure will don’t you worry. Not Sidney attends high school where he is exceeding in his classes and is considered to be mature for age, catching the eye of Miss. Hancock. She asked him to help her take some heavy equipment from the back of her trunk and carry it into her house when they reach her house Not Sidney finds nothing in the trunk and is invited into her house where Miss. Hancock will rape him. This happens for a second time and Not Sidney does the right thing by going to the principle and supervisor, they do not believe him, and he fails his class in the end. Storm Everett has flipped Not Sidney’s life upside down; for doing the right thing his perfect grades turn to something less pretty.
Next, Not Sidney decides to go to college, being a high school dropout he anonymously donates a large sum of money to the school in return for admission. His wish is granted, I don’t know why he would want this as we sophomores and freshmen are having one too many breakdowns as finals week approaches. Deciding to join Everett’s Nonsense course, where the syllabus is not set in stone and students are lead to believe they are going to be receiving an easy A. Are you ready here comes storm Everett again, he proceeds to hand out a midterm exam that he promised students they would not have and, in this exam, Not Sidney answers with “I don’t know”, “Awful”, and “Damn it” (page 113). Again the storm has left his academic GPA floating across a pond in a boat with holes. Not Sidney visited Percival Everett’s office on many occasions to ask for clarification on class discussions and lectures but left more confused than when he entered.
Now, stormtroopers it’s almost 1 in the morning you are all covered in a mountain of blankets and we’re going to unpack how storm Everett took me as his next victim. During my close reading of re: f(gesture) I was left believing Everett wanted to break academic rules, English stigma, and was influencing his readers to be creative. Of course, for me to come to this interpretation I was left staring at his book of poems and novel for a little over two hours and then another couple hour’s to find supporting details along with developing my idea. Everett forced me as a reader to think outside of the box and be creative, developing this idea with the section of this book titled “Zulus”. In this section, Everett wrote an “ABC” dedication while using common knowledge from other fields to bring creativity into his piece. Also, in the next section titled “Human Body” he used the scientific names of bones along with common knowledge within the medical field to develop his idea of creativity; through the use of other fields. So, how did storm Everett send me on that rollercoaster we discussed earlier? Many times, throughout this year I left English 203 mind screwed, I wondered things like: why was Everett writing a section of poems with nothing in common but “ABC” order? Why does Not Sidney want to go to college? What is the poem section labeled “Logic” really about? Or my favorite is Professor McCoy Percival Everett? Later all my questions were answered with further unpacking and hours of thinking in the shower. Everett in my analysis may be trying to teach his readers that common knowledge within varied fields can lead to creative and interesting pieces, not to fear breaking a few rules, such as adding movie scenes into your book with a little twist, and to break the stigmas associated with the English major.
Now English 203 it’s 7:00 in the morning snowstorm Everett has ended, the power has come back on. We can now close our generators and uncover from our mountain of blankets. The storm has come to an end and so has our English 203 class, where we learned to unpack our comments and evidence with the careful coaching of Professor McCoy and storm Everett has left us a beautiful literary picture of breaking literary rules, let creativity be the guide for future work me, and break stigmas. Percival Everett is a snowstorm because the outcome taken home after reading his work is unpredictable, readers are left with so many questions that they unpack his text until they find a reasonable answer, and the take-home message is different for every reader. Like a snowstorm may leave five feet of snow in a location but provide light flurries in another.
CNN News: It looks like SUNY Geneseo’s English 203 class located in Welles 216 seemed to have been hit the hardest by snowstorm Everett, let’s see if we can get any comments. Ma’am, how was the storm?
Sarah: The storm was scary and confusing at first but after further assessment I learned a lot from storm Everett.