There are many reasons you might ask a question in class, the most obvious being that you would like to know the answer. But sometimes, raising your hand is a strategic maneuver. You need the participation points, for instance, or you’re trying to get a divisive classroom discussion going because you worship chaos.
Whatever your agenda, it’s best to have list of questions at the ready. That’s where I come in. If you’ve already exhausted the ones I came up with last time, try:
1. Why was Robert Frost always so surprised by death as a concept? Why did he keep forgetting this sometimes happens?
2. Did Geoffrey Chaucer know that there are women in this world who are not named Alyson?
3. What exactly does “wyrd” mean, and why do they keep casually throwing it around in Beowulf like it’s something I should know?
4. Edmund Pevensie ransomed off his entire family for Turkish delight, which is a foodstuff I’ve never actually tasted. Am I missing out?
5. In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley is described as having “four or five thousand a year” and I have no idea what that means.
6. Why do I get such a “DEMON CHILD” vibe from Hester Prynne’s daughter, Pearl?
7. What I’m hearing is that Malcolm’s soldiers grabbed tree branches and approached Macbeth’s castle pretending to be a forest so he wouldn’t suspect they were actually an invading army, so I guess my question is why did this work?
8. Why couldn’t Roger Chillingworth just name himself “Steve McBadGuy” and be done with it?
9. How do vampires actually have sex? The act, as I understand it, involves particulars that I cannot for the life of me make sense of. I know this isn’t your area of expertise, but I don’t know who else to ask.
10. Why didn’t James Joyce know when to stop? You know, just generally.
11. Okay, fine, so what was the name of Frankenstein’s monster?
12. I feel like I have questions about Catch-22 but I don’t know what they are.
13. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, why is it that the name of every single human woman begins with the letter H? I lost five points on my essay for mixing up Hermia and Helena and let me tell you, if Hippolyta had been a more prominent character, we would have been on the fast track to total catastrophe.
14. Why was Heathcliff such a tool?
15. Given that the protagonist of Moby Dick ambiguously says, “Call me Ishmael” instead of something more definitive like “My name is Ishmael,” should we just assume that his real name is something really boring, like Stanley or Greg?
16. Gavroche. Just, why?
17. Could Emily Bronte have possibly come up with a LESS euphonic name than Thrushcross Grange?
18. Why did Heart of Darkness have to be so upsetting?
19. Do you think Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary Shelley would’ve let me join their squad?
20. What the hell kind of name is Orgoglio?
21. What the hell kind of name is Nick Bottom?
22. Why didn’t Curley’s wife get a name in Of Mice and Men? My best guess is because she had lady parts, but I don’t know for sure.
23. How did nobody notice an actual human corpse dropping from the sky in Lord of the Flies?
24. Can we all just agree that Daisy and Tom Buchanan were made for each other?