Hermits Rock

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to read, to write, to say something of interest

You would’ve thought that the assignment was easy enough. I won’t post the exact particulars on this site because students might stumble across it and know…

But, you would’ve thought that asking them to read closely a passage from one of the essays we read, yes something akin to what the New Critics promoted, something akin to what those pesky French do; you would’ve thought that a room full of graduating seniors, lit majors no less—even English majors—; you would’ve thought that they would’ve been able to easily turn in a three page draft. In this draft, you would’ve expected a lot of textual citation, a lot of definitions, a lot of, though not necessarily, use of rhetorical and grammatical terms. You would’ve thought that tedium might’ve been what bothered them most about the task or that they might’ve thought themselves much too advanced for such frosh-play. But still, you would’ve thought that they could’ve done it and done it without too much Chicken Little.

But, it’s like I freakin’ asked them to perform a Herculean task, and one which they didn’t understand in the least. I told them to focus on rhetoric, on language, on how things are said rather than what they mean… but, Holy Strunk and White Letterman! Spell Binder came in and stole their brains.

I guess I’m just old-fashioned in that sense… I still think that attention to language and rhetoric are the hallmarks of our trade and that if these kids want to do anything with their degree they will need to learn to read closely.

 

Comments

Damn students these days…

is kl a bot?

my infinitive is split… to turn in with ease

Back at camp, I had a Bible prof confide to me that 90% of the papers he got from senior majors really deserved to fail. Of those, half were merely very bad. The other half were literally incoherent.

yeah, but those are bible majors… i couldn’t understand most of them when they would get up and speak in chapel… and i presume that their final papers weren’t much different.

Bible majors actually don’t speak that often in chapel. But yes, your point still stands. They’re close to the bottom of the barrel, academically.

they must’ve changed it by your time…

no, you’re right, they barely did. but when they did… when they did!