Friday, May 14, 2010
Grading term papers is a chore, but once in a while you come across goodies like this, from the pile sitting on my desk:
“In Sonnet 116, [Shakespeare] ruminates on love that 'is the star to every wandering bark, / Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.' In this instance, the nature of love seems to accept both extremes of the dog. As its tone wavers from violent to doleful, the bark (or the blind groping for love) is not measurable in the traditional sense, but the moon serves as a captive audience that manages to absorb each discrete sentiment that the bark emotes.”
It reminded me of all the other moments like it – the student at Brooklyn College who confused “burrow” with “burro” (I told him he didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground); the other BC undergrad who wrote that “Oedipus fell through his tragic floor” (I think the borough’s accent was to blame), the kid who described himself and his girlfriend as “shits that pass in the night.” There was another student who began a freshman essay with “I was born of poor but Jewish parents,” which is not exactly a blooper, but wonderful in its own way.