In class today we read some fairy tales, including a bizarre iteration of Little Red Riding Hood in which a cat calls the heroine a "slut" for eating the flesh and drinking the blood of her grandmother. Everyone was wondering how cannibalism turns a girl skanky when I suggested that this might be an antiquated use of the word slut, one which means "slattern" or "slob" more than "hoochie." Then one of my students said, "Like in Wuthering Heights" and my heart sang. This student was in my class last semester, a class in which I did, indeed, explain the evolution of the word slut and how Emily Brontë's understanding of the term differed from our own. I'm always a little bit thrilled by any evidence that my students have actually learned something from me.
May 19, 2004 | Permalink
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