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If you’ve ever taken a humanities course, there’s almost always one kid in your section that not only believes his taste is better than yours, but wants you to know it, too. One way to know if you have your very own Pretentious Section Kid in your class is to see if they mention any of the works of literature listed below.
William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”
Pretentious Section Kid loves all Faulkner, but especially “The Sound and the Fury.” You should be suspicious of anyone who loves Faulkner, yet can’t think of any reason to praise him besides his pretentious writing style. We’re seriously talking about a man who wrote a novel — “As I Lay Dying” — in six weeks and didn’t edit a single word, and it was no more sloppily written than the rest of his works.
While discussing a small section of Plato’s “Republic,” Pretentious Section Kid will boldly proclaim that he has read the entirety of the work. He will then proceed to explain the context of the excerpt to the rest of the class until the TF gathers the courage to cut him off and redirect the conversation.
David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”
Not only does Pretentious Section Kid love David Foster Wallace’s unnecessarily wordy novel, he will also recommend DFW’s essays to the rest of the uncultured class. You’ll know if you have a particularly bad Pretentious Section Kid if he ever dons the notorious red bandana.
Virgil’s “Aeneid” in the original Latin
It’s not enough that he’s read the “Aeneid,” Pretentious Section Kid will loudly proclaim that it is “much more beautiful in its original language” and that everyone else is “missing out on a wonderful literary experience.” The TF will politely agree while everyone else in your section rolls their eyes.
James Joyce’s “Ulysses”
With only a hint of a segue, Pretentious Section Kid will somehow manage to mention his favorite novel of all: “Ulysses.” As you can tell, Pretentious Section Kid is a big fan of stream-of-consciousness, yet seems completely uninterested in (better) authors of this style like Toni Morrison or Virginia Woolf.
—Outgoing AND incoming Books Executive Caroline E. Tew can be found reading all the books by brilliant female authors that Pretentious Section Kids refuse to read.
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