My third and final class this past quarter was "Introduction à la langue française", with an emphasis on sub-saharan African literature. Going into the class, I'll admit that my appreciation for literature was not as high as it should have been. That's not to say that I don't read, but I predominantly like to just read the facts, and then go about my day. Even in high school, I didn't really enjoy English classes, and the fact that this class was a requirement for the French major meant that I couldn't really sulk. I had to make light of the course and proceed to learn as much as I could.
Throughout the class, we read three books and watched two movies all in French. Like my other French class, we were told to prepare by doing the assigned reading or film watching prior to class, jotting down notes, and preparing discussions. During our class, every student had to lead two discussions, which usually meant coming to class with questions prepared that we would then address during the duration of the two hour period. These questions could range from mere understanding of words in context, or more broad themes in order to simply comprehend what message the book was sending to us as readers.
Reading novels in French over a short period of time would not bode well without the help of our professor, Isaac Joslin, who actually grew up in Cote d'Ivoire, and could speak to some of the context. While reading these novels, we spoke of themes of modern struggle, as well as colonial marginalization, while the third novel was actually a journal of a feminist trying to create an ideal world by making up two characters who were at times complete opposites of one another. At times, "putting the pieces together" became difficult.
During our readings, we were assigned to write poems, dialogues, short fables, and then reflect on our readings after we had finished each novel. These works would then be compiled into a portfolio, and we would reflect and what we had learned, if our thoughts of Africa changed, and what we could take away from it.
Putting a human rights spin on my works as I like to do often, I adjusted the class to my liking in a way that could help me relate to or explain to other people what Africa is all about. Many people have fixed stereotypes and neglect to pursue any further knowledge than what they want to believe, so giving myself the opportunity to shoot down ignorance was important to me throughout the course. I wanted to dispel a message in my work, just as the authors did in there's and I think I did that well after all was said and done.