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The Enkidu Strikes Back

| Learning | July 12, 2013

(It’s May 1999, and Star Wars Episode I is about to come out. I am taking a Brit Lit class and we are discussing the story of Gilgamesh.)

Teacher: “You guys just finished the epic poem Gilgamesh. In addition to the project in your syllabus, I have decided to give you a secondary project on Gilgamesh. First, you will have to chose an object in the story, analyze it in depth, and make a recreation of it. That is due by Friday. In addition, we are going to begin watching a series of movies today and you will each need to write a paper comparing the themes in these movies to themes you found in Gilgamesh. You will also need to find or make an object that represents the theme you choose. That will be due by next Wednesday.”

Student #1: “Which movies?”

Teacher: “We will be watching Star Wars, from Episode IV to Episode VI.”

Student #2: “Those aren’t British.”

Teacher: “No, but the story shares a great deal of similarity to the sorts of themes you find in British epic literature.”

Student #1: “Can the object be a Star Wars object?”

Teacher: “I would prefer that it be one, yes, and don’t care if you go out and buy something provided that you can support in written format that it represents the theme you choose.”

Me: “I’m not complaining but I can’t help but think you are wanting to watch those movies because Episode I is coming out next weekend.”

Teacher: *looks guilty*

Student #1: “Dude, that’s not right!”

Teacher: “Don’t complain: you get to watch movies all week instead of hear me talk about Gilgamesh, and I get to play with whatever Star Wars toys you bring me. Besides, it should be an easy A. I’m only assigning the project because the principal said that I couldn’t watch the movies in class unless I could relate them to the curriculum.”

(The next weekend, I spotted the teacher at the midnight showing of Episode 1… in a Jedi costume!)

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