Whose Analysis?

Since everybody says they like my teaching stories more than any other type of posts, here is the most recent one.

Student (irritably): So you just said we can’t copy any stuff from the Internet into our essays. And we also shouldn’t copy what you said in class. Then what’s left to write about? If it isn’t online and it isn’t what you said, what else is there?

Me: You are supposed to offer your own analysis of the two texts in question.

Student: MY analysis?

Me: Yes.

Student (completely seriously): Why can’t I just offer your analysis instead?

5 thoughts on “Whose Analysis?

  1. Oh god. I literally snorted. Sometimes I think about becoming a professor, so I can be the professor with the smartass mouth. I don’t really see how else one might respond to a comment like that.


  2. Clarissa, I am shocked that you of all people as a literary scholar would promote these gleeful, debilitating lies that there is such as a thing as valid interpretation of the text beyond what the teacher says.

    I once knew a professor who claimed that all literature is about sex. The only text he claimed to be different was Rossetti’s “The Goblin-Market,” which is supposedly about economics. Fair enough, I can see it. But then there’s this:

    [Laura] sucked their fruit globes fair or red:
    Sweeter than honey from the rock,
    Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,
    Clearer than water flowed that juice;
    She never tasted such before,
    How should it cloy with length of use?
    She sucked and sucked and sucked the more
    Fruits which that unknown orchard bore,
    She sucked until her lips were sore….

    and this:

    [Lizzie] cried “Laura,” up the garden,
    “Did you miss me ?
    Come and kiss me.
    Never mind my bruises,
    Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
    Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,
    Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
    Eat me, drink me, love me;
    Laura, make much of me:
    For your sake I have braved the glen
    And had to do with goblin merchant men.”

    I like to think that guy was just yanking some freshman chains.


  3. Because you aren’t trying to teach them to be a parrot?

    Because if you wanted to hear yourself played back you’d buy a dictaphone?

    Because facts can be looked up but interpretation is always individual?

    I could keep going all evening. 😀


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