I’m graduating on Saturday. In an effort to combat the debilitating fear and impending doom, I’m trying to take comfort in the fact that I’ve somehow managed to incorporate a few of my favorite things into my academic career. I’ve managed not only to bookend my college experience with my favorite book, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but I’ve also snuck in my favorite television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer**.
My first encounter with Kavalier & Clay was in my senior AP English class. Our final assignment (outside of the year-long “Senior Project” which also incorporated Buffy- what? I’m nothing if not a dedicated fan!) was a simple book report. The catch was that the list included works like Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits, and among them was Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winner. It was the last book I read as a senior in High School, and by a stroke of luck, it was also the last one I read and wrote on when I transferred from one college to where I am now; finally, it’s become a part of my undergraduate thesis.
As trite as the symmetry is, I’m a little weepy. Of course, using it in my thesis was deliberate, but it was an easy choice given that this beautiful book is a goddamn tome; rich, elaborate, poignant, and inspiring. Naturally, it’s a story about heroism, but it’s also about identity and human connections. Through my third revisit, I still find myself getting emotional, if not more so, given that I’m already aware of how it all unravels.
Obviously, each time I’ve written on Kavalier & Clay has been on a different theme, and this time it’s used in conjunction with the idea of metamorphosis and psychological dissonance. Because, why shouldn’t I make the last major work a giant piece of actual self-help? Right?!
The inclusion of Buffy follows along the same points of choice, but considering that that her character is an inversion of some many traditional tropes, she’s a fascinating character to explore.
*Yes, this is the title of The Smashing Pumpkin’s song from the Batman & Robin Soundtrack (one of the best OSTs, don’t deny it!), and it’s also fitting because I’m including Batgirl into my thesis. Be jealous.
**Today is the tenth anniversary of the series finale! :’) *sniff*