A Reminiscence of High School Required Reading that Triggered My Search for the Black Protagonist
Great Expectations | The Odyssey | Greek Tragedies | Henry the Fourth | Upon the Head of the Goat | Medea | Out of Many: A History of the American People | Sons and Lovers | The Great Gatsby | Mrs. Dalloway | The Tempest | Paradise Lost | A History of US: Making Thirteen Colonies | Of Mice and Men | The Things They Carried | Walt Whitman Selected Poems | Pride and Prejudice | A History of US: A History of the American People | The Catcher in the Rye | A Raisin in the Sun | To Kill a Mockingbird | Othello | The Autobiography of Malcom X | Death of a Salesman | Dante’s Inferno | Their Eyes Were Watching God | As I Lay Dying |
The story behind the story:
I originally wrote this micro to explore my complicated relationship with reading. What started as an extensive list that covered a majority of my middle school through master’s program required reading was edited to what you have here. My high school required reading in particular alienated me from actively participating in the imagined adventures the oftentimes white male protagonists were experiencing. I found that I never got “lost” in the reading and documenting these books was a reminder of where my hunger to find, as I mention in the title, the Black protagonist began. The beginnings of my hunger to read books by someone who looked like me. Books containing characters that I could become because they were different versions of me. I’m forever grateful to Dorothy Chan who originally accepted this CNF piece for HAD.
K.B. Carle lives and writes outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her flash has been published in a variety of places including Okay Donkey Magazine, Lost Balloon, CHEAP POP, Five South, and elsewhere. K.B.’s stories have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, and her story, “Soba,” was included in the 2020 Best of the Net anthology. Her story, “A Lethal Woman,” will be included in the 2022 Best Small Fictions anthology. She can be found online at kbcarle.com or on Twitter @kbcarle.
“A Reminiscence of High School Required Reading that Triggered My Search for the Black Protagonist” was first published in HAD.
Header Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash.