Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First tilt at this semester's windmill

Today was my first tilt at the evil giant menacing the happiness of my semester. Wait, no---that is a windmill that I am tilting at. Oh no, it is not a windmill! It is the dreaded compelling question essay!!!

As they say in football, one down and three to go. Or is that in cat juggling?

I can't say that I loathe the compelling question essays. But I definitely dislike them.

I first got exposed to them last semester in the Gothic Literature class. This semester, they are pack and parcel in the History of the Novel II class. I did consider not taking this class...but I sort of need it to get my degree, so I decided just to get it over with.

Now, don't get me wrong. I understand the purpose of them. Professor Jeff Franklin is using them to torture students, in partcular---me! Oh wait, that is not is actually a job skill that he is teaching.

Quite simply, a compelling question essay is a delayed thesis essay. Or as I treat them a rambling stroll though a novel while carrying a question.

Last semester, I tried the serious approach to the compelling question essay. And I crashed and burned twice. Not this semester, everyone had a more serious question than I did.

Yes, that is right: I went for a silly question for this first attempt. "What does the color red symbolize in Jane Eyre?" The question was born when Jane was punished by being sent to the red-room, and I sat there and said, "Gee, this room has a lot of red in it. I wonder why."

I am not holding out much hope to get a favorable grade on the resulting essay, even after I whack it a few times with a shovel when rewriting it. Nor am I holding out much hope for the other attempts at this particular format.

I only have one more required (the other two can be something else), but I am stubborn...I am going to keep trying to take this windmill down.


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