People say we are in the best profession because we have the most autonomy and my difficulty here is the cognitive dissonance: one is said to have autonomy, but this means in practice only that one has no support … and one is in fact working under a regime of total control.
A student writes:
Muy parecidos al niño que nunca ha tenido interacción con la sociedad, los ciudadanos en El Señor Presidente nunca han tenido tiempo para respirar hondo o desarrollarse. “Asturias has created in a brilliant fashion a grotesque and asphyxiating concept of the total state. Both [Rivera and Asturias] create a stifling and intensely suffocating atmosphere. In the one, the rain forest closes in upon the mind in a nervous anthropomorphism. In the other, the total state and the city oppress and fill the mind with terror” (Franklin 163).
I had a terrible time this semester because I assigned new things and then did not have a chance to keep up with their repercussions, and because these things turned out to be too difficult for the students I got and I understood this when it was too late to change.
I want to remember that in spite of the fact that two of three classes were failures in my view, I got a lot out of teaching them. Part of what I got was a re-exposure to this Asturias novel which really does explain my experience in the academic world and where my energy goes.