Monday, August 01, 2005

Credit Where Credit is Due

After weeks of fretting, vis-a-vis final papers and such, I finally got my evaluations for Spring quarter of '05. (My asides in yellow.)

Lit 383: Psychology of Women Thru Film and Literature: Catherine (sic)... did outstanding work in this class. She illustrated her fine ability for independent, analytical and critical thinking in both her classroom contributions (note: I was completely obnoxious in this class -- you all should know this, in the interest of full disclosure. Feminist debate makes me cranky.) and in all of her written work. Her final paper was beautifully written (actually, I was very proud of this paper. Click here if you're interested in reading it -- and if you are, what's wrong with you?), filled with astute insights and very creative in its approach to analyzing the film "Frances." Her incorporation of ideas from [Phyllis] Chesler's work, "Women and Madness" (a fairly foreboding -- and expensive -- text, but if you can find it in the library, I highly recommend it!) , were enriching to the ideas Amanda was expressing. All in all, excellent work.

But the paper and class I was really fretting over, if you recall, was the other class.....

Lit 336: Lyric and Narrative, History and Imagination in Contemporary Literature: Catherine (sic) engaged the course enthusiastically (hmmmm.... I think he may have confused enthusiasm with abject terror) from start to finish. Her spirited participation in class showcased her ability to interpret and analyze very challenging examples of "Historiographic Metafiction." (Yessir.... I never met an example of "Historiographic Metafiction" I didn't like.) She was comfortable using the poststructuralist critical terminology, and I was impressed with the quick, astute connections she would make, often extemporaneously and on the fly. (Can you see why Ed Frankel is one of my favorite professors?) Her final paper examined Michael Ondaatje's use of history as a backdrop for his memoir, Running in the Family, and his fictionalized poem/novel, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, a very complex text, difficult to navigate and understand. (Good. Then it wasn't just me.) In my final comments on Catherine's paper (will these people never learn to spell my name?) I noted, "Well done. Focused and intelligent. You did close readings of these books as well as a fine job of pulling together your insights and discoveries into a very readable paper." (He did indeed write this on my final paper, much to my relief.)

No one knows better than you guys how much I was stessing over the second paper. Now I think you understand why. You'll note the my Graduation Watch has changed to reflect 6 fewer units -- only twenty to go now. Either that pinprick of light I see waaaay down there is the light at the end of the tunnel... or....

It's an oncoming train. Either way, it will soon be over now.


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