Earlier this morning, I turned in my final paper for possibly the most insanely difficult junior college class I've ever taken. My professor has a PhD in literature from a VERY liberal women's college and I swear, the woman could find a rape scene or rape intentions in ANY piece of written work. Here's a million dollar term that might garner some strange looks if you manage to use in conversation: vagina dentata. On day freaking one of summer session English 1B, she dropped the vagina dentata bomb on us. Imagine the looks of sheer terror on the faces of those who are not native English speakers. Pure. Comedy.
This class was ridiculous, though, because of suggestions like this (I know this is a lot to read, but trust me, it'll give you great insight into what I was up against):
Take the following quote from The Merchant of Venice: “…Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks hang on her temples like a golden fleece…” (citation). After the quote, you’d have to explain what “renowned” means. What does it signify? Then you’d unpack the puns. “Locks” means hair and padlocks. We only lock up items that are valuable, but it is also a form of punishment; such as being locked away for life. Lock also suggests unity or a union, as in marriage, such as in the phrase: lip-lock. You’d also have to entertain the word sunny. I’d say that it relates to golden and golden means monetary value and aesthetic value, as in a golden tan. Then we have golden fleece. Gold by itself = wealth and beauty but golden fleece is an allusion to a Greek myth. The golden fleece gives Jason the power of invisibility and he uses this power to kill Medusa, a powerful woman. Medusa can turn men to stone, which is interesting because of the phrase “blinded by beauty.” Instead of being blinded by beauty, one is turned to stone from her ugliness and the hero must triumph over her. Mankind either suffers from woman’s beauty or suffers from her ugliness and thus mankind must be saved.
Oh my GOD, fuck me in the goat-ass! Unpack the puns?! Are you kidding me?! I thought I was a decent writer, but I never stood a chance against this woman. I could take a trillion English classes and never think the way she does. To me, the above "suggestion" qualifies as reading into ONE LINE of a very long play WAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much. She said that if we couldn't get all of that out of one line, we weren't being very sophisticated. If that's the case, I'm as barbaric as they come. Sadly, to get a decent grade on any of the fourteen (yes, fourteen) papers that she had us write in a mere six weeks, you had to think exactly like she did. If she didn't agree with what you wrote, your grade would suffer.
For me, what this lead to was finding abstract inspiration from an episode of Oprah that featured Jessica Simpson, for crying out loud. I also managed to contort and twist and completely mutilate a Dave Matthews song...not surprisingly, she loved these two papers. Also not surprising was that these were the two papers I was the least proud of. I didn't believe in a single word I wrote and felt that I was handing in an absolute pile of shit, and yet she raved about my creativity.
Bottom line here is that I just couldn't win. If I wrote about things that I believed in, I got C's (C's!!). If I vomited baloney onto sheets of paper that lacked any sort of coherent idea, she was pleased, but still not in the mood to hand out an A. I've honestly never had so much trouble figuring out what a professor wanted before! Even when I got my papers back and read through the pages of comments, I still didn't get it...nothing was clarified, nothing was made easier to understand.
With the final paper handed in, I can't do anything but just hope that she sees some improvement in my ability to give her something that she agrees with. Because otherwise, I just earned myself another C in an English class.
I also apologize for the lack of posting around here lately, but Professor Vagina Dentata Rape Scene really killed my desire to write for fun. Now that I'm finished with her class, I will hopefully get back to enjoying the mindless blather that takes place here...