When I came back to this class on August 19, 2013, the first thing that came into my mind was how horrible I did on the thesis presentation on Crime and Punishment the previous year, and I prayed to God to not let Mr. O do such a thing to me ever again. Yet here I am, trying to earn a good grade by presenting a speech – the one thing that I dreaded doing and still dread ever so much. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this.
This year has been a year of…I’d say, enlightenment. The books that we read this year enriched me with emotions – I got to understand the breathtaking beauty that one experiences when studying a piece of art. While reading The Scarlet Letter, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and “Revelation,” I got to look back at myself and repent for being so judgmental and humanly; and I first learned about the American Dream in The Pursuit of Happyness and in Of Mice and Men. Especially special to me was The Great Gatsby, No Country for Old Men, and the poem “The Metier of Blossoming.” They were interesting. They really made me think. The eyes of T. J. Eckleburg followed me around and the disturbing scenes of Chigurh’s killing haunted me. But the poem… The very first time you read it to us, Mr. O, I knew that you wanted to tell us something and that whatever it was, I needed it, and so desperately.
Then when we started reading Hemingway, I believe that we started with this question: “Are you an optimist?” And I don’t remember any of us saying that he/she was a pessimist other than me. But this was my view on the world, that we didn’t have hope, and we just had to live by the present, trusting God to take care of everything else. The introduction to Hemingway made me panic. As we were talking through the codes he abode by, I realized that it was similar to the ones that I had established through whatever happened in my life. But then Hemingway was an atheist…should I be worried? But by the end of the book, I was glad to have figured out that I was nothing like Jake Barnes or Brett, that I didn’t enjoy bullfighting nor did I communicate with people full of sarcasm in my words.
When we ended with “The Metier of Blossoming,” it was soothing, encouraging, yet challenging. The more I read this poem over again, the stronger the feeling got that the Amaryllis could be no other than us, and that the poem was a message that you, Mr. O, wanted to plant in us, to give hope to the hopeless like me. But one thing that bugged me was: although I meditated on the excerpt of No Country for Old Men, I still couldn’t figure out what the “promise” was until the moment I was writing this speech.
“Why was that? What was it that he had faith in?” Mr. O, you have described me as a strong, brave girl. I never knew and I don’t think I’ll never know what you saw in me, but one thing that I can tell you is that, the three years you’ve been my teacher, I grew so much both emotionally and spiritually taking your classes. When I first entered your class as a Sophomore student in 2011, I never knew I’d come to writing a speech like this as your final exam. So, as I move on to the next chapter of my life, I would also like to leave…something. Something that would make you remind of us, our class…like a promise J. A promise is made to be kept, and I will, no doubt, be sure to accomplish that. As cheesy as it might sound, I would like to make a promise that your classes, just like that stone trough, will keep its significant place in my memories of a home called “Hinkson” for two hundred years…if not more.