okay but what if Steve didn’t know many slang terms for hetero sex because he hit puberty surrounded by queer culture and oKAY LOOK, FONDUE SOUNDS LIKE IT COULD BE SLANG FOR THAT SHIT. IT MADE SENSE TO HIM AT THE TIME. THE FUCK DID YOU WANT FROM HIM; HE KNOWS LIKE TWELVE DIFFERENT WAYS TO SAY ‘BACK-ALLEY BLOWJOB’ BUT THAT SHIT ISN’T APPLICABLE HERE, IS IT
DATE (FROM TWO DAYS BEFORE THIS ESSAY WAS DUE, DESPITE THE FACT I STARTED IT FOUR HOURS BEFORE DAWN)
AS MUCH INFORMATION AS I CAN THINK OF
TO SHOVE INTO THIS MARGIN
SO MY PAPER LOOKS LONGER LIKE
CLASS TITLE MAYBE?
ESSAY TITLE I SPENT LIKE TEN MINUTES TRYING TO SQUEEZE A PUN INTO BUT COULDN’T BECAUSE AFTER WRITING THIS I AM DEAD INSIDE
This is the introductory line - maybe there’s a cool fact here, a quote, the words “the dictionary defines this word as,” or a rambling, half-desperate struggle to appear relevant. Here is where I introduce my topic and the book I read, here is the author’s name I spelled wrong the first time around. Here is where I mention the characters that I remember in an attempt to seem like I actually read the book instead of skimming it. Here is where I halfheartedly try to make my thesis sound like it connects to the rest of this paragraph. Here is the thesis, which I will painstakingly rewrite in every paragraph or else the teacher will say something like “How does this paragraph relate?” even though it’s pretty obvious how that paragraph relates.
Here is me saying the first bit of the thesis statement again, maybe with a different word or two. I heard the teacher mention something about a metaphor or whatever, so I’ll just mention that. Here’s that one character I remember vaguely, and a purposefully verbose depiction of them so I can take up as much space as possible. I only opened the book like a week ago, so “here is a quote that [doesn’t] really make any sense in the context of this paragraph and is overly long so as to extend the length of this essay” (citation I probably did wrong - was that MLA or Chicago?). I will now analyze this quote incorrectly. “Here is another quote,” says that character, probably, I hope (MLA citation). As we saw in that quote, this character said that once, which proves my thesis because I said so. I couldn’t really find a third quote for this paragraph but I once got points off for missing one, so “[here]” is a “[quote]” I might have “[made] up” (APA citation). I might say something in here about that metaphor again, shit, I don’t know. Here’s the thesis, but maybe with three different words.
Transitional sentence I shambled together out of the remains of my hopes and dreams. A rambling, off-topic sentence which probably should have been deleted but it’s four in the morning and I honestly don’t care and I need those full five pages. A drastic shift in the paper where for five seconds I actually think I know what I’m talking about. Here’s a “quotation” that does actually “support” the second part of my thesis and I’m actually really surprised that it does (MLA?). Here’s my analysis of the quote in which I try to explain why that supports my thesis like explaining to a small child why the wind blows. It just does, okay, but I’m only going to be able to express this in really confused and circular speech that my teacher will probably underline and put a condescending little question mark next to. Here’s my second quote, “even though I’m not as sure about it” as the last one (MLA, definitely). Here’s my mentioning that character again, but this time I’m talking also about a second character. I secretly hope I never have to take a test on this stuff. Here’s the “third quote, which I will refuse to cut despite the fact it is again too long and probably needs to be edited for tense changes but if I do that then the teacher will think I give a shit” (APA). Here’s my thesis again but this time I’m connecting it back to the characters because I’m smart see also I have no idea what I’m doing and I want to burn my laptop and I just spent four hours on the internet putting this essay off so now my only option is to just write and pray to god that something makes sense. Concluding line.
Transitional sentence, but with a vague sense of foreboding and dread attached to it. My hands are starting to slow down. I have no idea if my thesis is even right, but here’s some kind of a “quote” that maybe happened I hope (APA, definitely). I have now grown to resent the two characters I have been talking about and I sincerely hope they both die in a fire because literally nothing interesting happens to them literally nothing interesting happened in this book whatsoever, but here’s a “quote that makes it seem like I payed attention in class when the teacher read their favorite bit aloud” (MLA). I am now pretty sure my thesis isn’t correct and that I have zero evidence to support it in any way, but it is far too late in the paper to change anything, so I’m just going to speed ahead and hope the teacher doesn’t notice. I don’t even care anymore if I fail, here’s a “quote because what the hell,” not gonna bother analyzing it because at this point seriously do I still have to explain this stuff how hard is my thesis to grasp (panicky Chicago). Here’s a conclusion, barely.
This is where I say the thesis again, because I hate the teacher at this point and I want them to suffer through reading the same stuff eighty times. Here’s where I try to make this book seem “modern” and “exciting,” when in reality if I had been allowed to read it in my own time and without having to see specific symbols that my teacher wanted, I probably would have liked it. Here’s where I talk about those symbols I just remembered at the last second. Here’s where I say something vague. Here’s how I link the conclusion to the introductory paper, if I’m brave. Here’s a rambling personal thought. Here’s where I panic about how to end this essay. With a question, maybe?
This is the sentence where I say something generically positive about your paper. The next sentence begins with “Overall” but quickly segues into a “however.” The most egregious flaw is the one that I highlight next, but I’m probably skipping over several because your paper isn’t actually good. Now I make some kind of vague statement that glosses over the fact that I can tell you haven’t read the book. At this point in my comments I try to gently remind you that you are a college student, something along the lines of “in academic papers, it is customary to…”
There’s a paragraph break because I’m afraid to overwhelm you with a long paragraph—your essay seems to indicate you are not capable of sustaining that kind of attention to prose. I now make a statement that tries to convey to you the fact that I know you wrote this paper in four hours (“you seem to write your way into your thesis”) without actually saying it, and then I point out that the thesis you have repeated in every single paragraph of your paper has no actual relationship to anything you’ve argued.
In the final paragraph, I try to say something generically positive again. If the only good thing about your paper is that it wasn’t written in the garbled, grammatically-twisted faux academic-ese of most student papers, I’ll say something like “you write clear and direct prose,” but since it’s probably written that way I probably write “you have a strong point of view.”
—every set of student comments I’ve ever made.