Sometimes I get embarrassed for my students.  Not when they make grammatical mistakes or mangle sentences, but when they overreach.  What do they hope to achieve by name-dropping Freud, Hegel, and the flashiest terms of recent literary theory?  What do they know about any of these things?  And, frankly, why should they?  Think what other things they could be doing with those brain cells . . .


UPDATE: Today in class I had a student ask if what the author was doing was a kind of “deconstruction.”  Gah!  After prodding a bit to be sure that that was, in fact, the extent of his knowledge about the subject, I made pretty clear that throwing out literary terms willy-nilly will not earn them bonus points.

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