From the “Quotations File: Students and Others”

Over the many years I taught and advised students and read fairly widely and sometimes deeply,  I had access to and often clipped out or otherwise recorded the quotations I thought unusually perceptive (from my students) or useful guidance for my life (usually from the “Others”).  I am as privileged to share these with you as you may be to read them. Let’s hear from “The Students” first . . .

(1) From a frustrated ENG 203 journal writer in  1994:  “I am putting forth great effort to give you the kind of writing you want but if it is not stored within, it can not be taken out.”

(2) From a CMA 203 final exam essay:  “If you do not appreciate literature after taking this course, you probably will after taking his [my] class.  It is similar to the way we appreciate the law after getting a speeding ticket.”

(3) Comments I made in outline form as I returned Comp II students’ third theme assignment (a persuasive or argumentative essay):

1.  Were often not personal  (not related to the writer’s goals and values)2. Shifts in point of view: “you” to “everyone to “we” to “I”.  3. Research lacking in contexts, the latter confused with documentation. 4.  Development lacking:  persuasion requires strong proof.  5. Some exceptional essays [I named five students].  6.  Most students are not thinking for themselves.  They are lacking in opinions, convictions, principles, aspirations of a passionate nature.

(4)  ENG 203 journal entry:  “The advantages of having the violence [in Oedipus the King] occur offstage is for one it saves the director from having to get a new Oedipus each time the play takes place.”

(5)  From an ENG 203 paper comparing Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener to Faulkner’s Emily Grierson [“A Rose for Emily”]:  “It would have been difficult for Bartleby and Emily to have gotten together.  Bartleby would have preferred not to leave and Emily would not have to kill him.”

Now for a few of my favorite quotations from “Others”:

(1) Ernest Hemingway [A Moveable Feast]:  “You have always written before and you will write now.  All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence you know.”

(2) Burt Reynolds character in the movie Hustle:  “Every man is in search of a white whale, and when you find it, it usually kills you.”

 (3) T.S. Eliot:  “To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”

(4) Winston Churchill:  “Sometimes it is not enough to do one’s best; sometimes you must do what is necessary.”

(5) John Ruskin:  “In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed:  they must be fit for it.  They must not do too much of it.  And they must have a sense of success in it.”

(6)  John R. in The Smithsonian, June 1979:  Education “is the only procedure that can teach us how frequently we respond to deep instinctive impulses of which our conscious mind is unaware . . . .”

What do you wish to add?  Welcome to my blog.



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