WESTWOOD — First-year English student Henry Bellows is definitely working on the Great American novel, sources close to him reported.
“Oh yeah, he totally is,” Max Calman, Henry’s roommate, stated. “Like, Henry isn’t really about school, he’s just here to study the greats so he can be the next one. I see him every day, typing away, and I’m pretty sure he’ll get past the first page by his second year.”
When asked what Bellows’s work was about, Calman shrugged. “I think it’s about the American dream, or idealism, or like, the decline of civilization. Something deep.”
Self-published author and third year English major Cathy Hernandez was more critical about the younger English student.
“He doesn’t really get English literature yet. Sure, he’s read Fitzgerald and Shakespeare, but he knows absolutely nothing about Chaucer or the Romantic poets. How can one claim to be writing the next Moby-Dick when they don’t even know the intricacies of asyndetic prose?” When asked about her novel, Hernandez said that she, like Herman Melville, is unappreciated in her time.
Bellows’s classmate, Aditi Kumar, was more optimistic. “Well, Henry is really good at participating in our freshman seminar, so I think he’s definitely going to pull this off. Like, the other day, he pointed out a really cool simile and the professor smiled, so he’s basically a literary genius.”
Kumar herself has no interest in writing a novel: “I’m not talented enough, unlike Henry. The way he pointed out Hamlet’s internal crisis as a form of depression was just sublime. I’m aiming low, just law school.”
The student in question had less to say than his peers. “I’m not a genius,” Henry said as he flicked through Netflix. “See, I’m just a natural storyteller. Like Cormac McCarthy. I can just tell a great yarn, and you know, that’s why I’m an English student. I’m trying to get up there, day by day.”
When asked what he was doing to plan and write his novel, Henry pointed to the 4th season of Breaking Bad. “This is inspiring. Like, it fuels the creative juices. But I’m definitely writing tomorrow. A few hours of this and I’m just ready to go.”
Henry’s professor, Rudolf Johnson, spoke at length about his student. “Oh yeah, Henry’s great. Lot of enthusiasm, that kid. Most of these kids are just in here cruising, trying to get an easy credit, but not Henry. That kid really likes participating.” When asked if Henry seemed likely to write the Great American novel, Johnson stated, “Well, I’m sure he is writing the Great American novel. In fact, we all are. Even me.” Johnson confirmed that he began this novel when he started studying English Literature at the age of 18.
“I had to rewrite the plot a few times, because Thomas Pynchon kept stealing my ideas, but I think I’ll be able to finish the first chapter this year.”
As the class commenced, Henry was overheard informing everyone that his idea was too bourgeois, and that he would be writing a scathing indictment of patriarchal capitalism instead. Thomas Pynchon has not yet commented on whether he will be stealing that idea or not.