WT’s May Great Books Series to Highlight Story by Amarillo Native George Saunders


CANYON, Texas — A tale of a worker in a dystopian theme park who struggles to escape the grind is in the spotlight in the next installment of West Texas A&M University’s Great Books Series.

Greg Rohloff, a part-time English instructor at both WT and Amarillo College, will lead the discussion of George Saunders’ “Ghoul” at 7 p.m. May 9 via Zoom.

The discussion series — sponsored by the Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities —is open to those who either have or haven’t read the book, said Dr. Daniel Bloom, Great Books organizer and associate professor of philosophy.

“Ghoul,” published as part of Saunders’ “Liberation Day” collection and can be read online at the New Yorker, is ultimately about the dissolution of the American workplace and the devaluation of work, Rohloff said, though it’s told through the framework of a haunted-house employee whose work-life balance are thoroughly out of whack.

“‘Ghoul’ starts out with a simple characterization of the main character, and, through details, starting with the description of the provided lunch as a thin soup with a Kit Kat floating in it, that takes a reader into a bizarre world without simply screaming on the page that no soup should ever have a candy bar floating in it as its prime source of nutrition,” Rohloff said. “Saunders is subtle in reaching readers.”

Saunders, who was born in Amarillo, teaches creative writing at Syracuse University. His novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” won the Booker Prize in 2017, and his short stories have frequently appeared in the New Yorker.

WT professors and guest lecturers lead the monthly Great Books discussions.

The series began in 2011 and is traditionally held on the second Tuesday of the month.

To register for the May discussion, email Bloom at [email protected].

The series is one way in which WT serves the region by offering engagement with a variety of literary and philosophical texts. Being a learner-centered university is a key principle of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $120 million.