sleroyer wrote early on about her struggles with reading and how the class discussions inspired her to want to get more out of it, “to understand these books like some of [her] classmates.” And while I have always been a strong reader, I feel the same way. An art teacher once used the metaphor of a painting as a mirror. I think that applies to any work of art: What you see in it is determined largely by what you bring to it. Since we all come at these books from different backgrounds, we all have different takes. We all key in on different aspects. When it all comes together in class discussion, we see so many different facets and the books take on so much more meaning. After listening in on this week’s classes, I feel like I should read Ask the Dust over again.
I like that Camilla is a hophead – mostly because I like the sound of the word. Hophead. I had always associated the term hophead with opiate users, like the lunger in Red Harvest, rather than potheads. Various online dictionaries bear this out, although some definitions make it sound like a generic term for drug user. As I read it, it made Bandini sound naive, equating a marijuana smoker with a hard-core junkie. But maybe that’s the way Fante thought, or maybe it was the common view at the time.