If you ever find yourself wandering around campus looking for some time to yourself, wander yourself down the basement floor of North quad. There, tucked between echoing hallways and the Sweetland Center for Writing, lay a couple nooks and crannies perfect for the weary bookworm (and/or the nap deprived). There is almost always some overwhelmed soul passed out cold in one of them…
The couches of the Language Resource center provide one of these sanctuaries, usually with the least amount of nappers. It’s a nice place to read and study but sound-sensitive readers beware – timing is crucial. It’s best to get there early in the morning as it gets kind of busy around lunchtime. Although the noise level never rises above the clicking of computer keys, muffled coughs, and the occasional influx of a larger group to one of the back rooms - head phones provide the perfect barrier between these little disturbances and your focus.
This week’s reading soundtrack: the best of Pink Floyd. Thanks again to Spotify, I’ve been working my way through my long overdue musical education. This discovery of Pink Floyd is happening a little late in my life but try not to hold it against me; I’m ashamed enough as it is. Had I known it made such fitting reading music this would have happened a lot sooner. So with the help of albums like Pulse and Delicate Sound of Thunder, the clicking of keys and shuffling of backpacks soon faded into the matrix of my surroundings as I revisited the dusty Oklahoma farmlands of the Great Depression.
Let me catch you up to speed
For those foggy on the details of this high school English favorite, The Grapes of Wrath follows the story of a man named Tom Joad. A recently paroled convict and the son of Oklahoma farmers, he is released from prison only to find his childhood home stripped and deserted. On the way there he runs into Jim Casey, his town’s former preacher, and together they set off to find his family. They learn from a displaced neighbor that the Joads are staying with an uncle, evicted from their land by the bank along with all the other farmers in the area. When Joad and Casey finally manage to track them down, they find that they’re packed up and ready to leave for California in hope of a better life. Joad is now faced with the decision to either break parole and stay with his family, or remain in the barren lands everyone else has already deserted.
“A large red drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and the darkness crept over the land from the east. The evening star glittered in the dusk. The gray cat sneaked away toward the open barn shed and passed inside like a shadow” -John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath