Thursday, February 10, 1983

Something to be

I wrote a couple of sides of notes in preparation for my tutorial and finally got to bed at 4 a.m. I woke up with 15 minutes to spare before 2 p.m. and rushed out without a wash or anything, feeling heavy-eyed and muddy.

But it went quite well; I reeled off my prep. & Miriam H. said later I’d done OK. She can be a bit off-putting at times. Occasionally, in the middle of some hazy student monologue about a book I catch her glancing away and sighing almost impatiently. Today she told us that any “sharpness” she exhibits is purely on an intellectual level and we shouldn’t misconstrue it as personal.

She seemed surprised at the way we’d been taught at ‘A’ level, almost unable to believe we’d always been given essay topics by our teachers and had never been told why what we were reading was on our syllabus. I see now how unfair this was, because we were never active participants in our own education, especially in English: we just sat and had all the imagery and symbolism of Shakespeare, Conrad, and Naipaul rammed down our throats. Miriam H.’s methods throw me a bit and some people say they’d feel all at sea being asked to choose their own topics to write about. Sometimes she never even tells us she wants an essay.

I left the tutorial promising to write two essays, one on Emerson and Wordsworth and another on Thoreau. We have to read Walden and Civil Disobedience for next week. I have a lot to read and so little time to do it!

Pete and Stu took speed tonight to help them write their essays. Pete's written 15½ sides and Stu 7. Pete's been taking speed pretty regularly over the last few weeks.

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