Anyway, I'm taking an English/Writing class in order to make my lost home happy, and we finally got our first essays back today. We get to rewrite them, which is good, because the class really has been more about literary discussion than writing techniques. Today was our first in-depth lecture on writing literary analysis, and guess whose essay was dissected by the professor for the class's benefit?
It was technically anonymous -- the prof. took my name off of the piece before throwing it up on the projector screen -- but people knew. Whatever. It doesn't really matter, and since the prof.'s handwriting is difficult to read, hearing his comments out loud helped me. And while the essay needs work (does it ever!), it was chosen because I did a few things correctly, such as write a kick-ass thesis statement. Whatever else I do to my essay, the thesis stays more or less the way it is.
I also did some things wrong. These were common enough errors, but I did learn that the way the Comics Blogosphere often seems to talk about its literature does not fly in a formal classroom setting. These are the three top things I learned today:
- Slang is not a good idea. I really didn't mean to use it. Oops.
- The characters are not real people. We know that, of course, but we fans often talk about them as though they are. This is fine when you're talking about the direction you'd like to see your serial fiction take, I think, or if you're writing fanfiction. Or role-playing, or something. This is not so fine if you are analyzing Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" for an academic audience.
- Speculation is also a Bad Thing. See Number 2.