Thug Notes: Keeping Literary Analysis Gangsta!

Have you ever been hanging out with your homies and felt like discussing the subtle nuances found in Mcite>The Stranger or maybe you were in the mood to converse about Animal Farm and it’s allegorical meaning. No? Just me? Oh.

Well a new channel on YouTube gives viewers a chance to see literary masterpieces through a more realistic scope. Thug Notes is hosted by Sparky. This Gangsta with a Graduate’s lays down some intense retellings of classics, while also providing thorough analysis of themes, character, and symbolism.

What I like about this channel is that it is real. Sparky literally keeps it real. He summarizes these works in a way that is humorous, but also relevant to our 21st century voice and perspective. As he is summarizing, there are stick figure animations with funny dialogue and photos to accompany his narration. Every Thug Notes episode is different.

thug_notes_lord_of_fliesIn college all I wanted to do was sound academic and educated, now I steer away from snobby academic types because I often get frustrated by hoity toity dialogue and snobby conversations. I’d much rather discuss literature with someone like Sparky because that’s much closer to the way I talk. I am older now and confident enough in myself that I do not feel a need to show off or put on airs anymore. Now it is all about the literature, not about me showing how I understand the literature.

I am thinking of using Thug Notes in my classroom next year. I will either incorporate it as an end activity to a novel. Wouldn’t it be cool to have students create their own Thug Notes? That to me is better than a test or essay, as doing a video of this nature requires complete understanding of the readings and its underlying themes. Or I will simply use it to show my students how to read. Did that sound snobby? What I mean is that most people know how to “read” words off a page, but very few can find meaning in those words on a deeper level. As an Enlgish teacher one of the hardest things to show someone how to do is read between the lines. There are strategies and lessons that I use and use with great success, but teaching someone to pick up on the subtleties of literature is difficult. Thug Notes does that, and does it in a way that is not intimidating or snobby. One of my favorites is Thug Notes: Lord of the Flies and another good one is The Count of Monte Cristo.




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