Embracing Absurdity

The interesting thing about irony for me is that real irony is far more sincere than earnestness. To accept the absurdity of a situation is to accept the humanness of it. Utter sincerity suggests a kind of belief that one knows all there is to know about a given circumstance. That is not to say that one should ever make light of serious and grave and important issues, but that open and genuine intellectual curiosity should never be a casualty in any situation. Irony is not always funny. Humor is not always ironic. –Percival Everett

I think it’s safe to say that everyone has been in their fair share of absurd situations. Where we know that we should know how things operate, and assume that everyone else has complete understanding, and yet we have no idea what we’re doing. I am no stranger to this phenomenon. When I first started English 203, I think it’s fair to say that I felt overwhelmed. Sure, I had taken English courses before, but the level of expertise that this class seemingly demanded was much higher than my initial expectations. The situation felt ridiculous to me, as someone who had always been so confident in his English abilities. I was forced into curiosity.

As I’ve experienced more of this class, I feel that I’ve begun to settle in with my workload. However, this particular epigraph spoke to me, as it had a strange way of encapsulating how I felt then. I had to accept the absurdity. For example, reading The Bacchae proved to be a bit of a challenge to me. Being in an English class whilst also having a difficult time understanding the english of the book was, well, ironic. However, I used this to my advantage, and let my natural curiosity take over, which helped me greatly with processing the book. I had to embrace this perceived ridiculousness in order to understand it. 

This quote assisted with me establishing some goals within this class. For one, it made me realize that I need to open myself to more ideas, lest I get swept away by ideas I refuse to understand. The idea of New Criticism was an idea that I had heard of before, but had chosen to omit from my way of thinking prior to this class. In order to wrap my head around it, I had to open myself up to new ways of thinking, specifically to new ways of considering literature in this scenario. Additionally, I’ve also decided to approach these strange concepts with an open curiosity, as I feel that the more willing I am to simply roll with that which I consider strange, the sooner it will cease to be strange to me.