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Conclusion of ENG555

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Last Journal Entry…Well now…let’s see if I can express this appropriately…

This is the end…I can feel it…the claws of savage certainty are clutching, grabbing at my skin, barely hanging onto my bones…

My mind has been ravaged by those deep thinkers of the European archipelago that is Greece…Plato, Gorgias, Phaedrus, Socrates…With a reminiscent smile I think of what I took from them; what they gave to me…Rhetoric…Persuasion…Exploration through questioning…The secrets of syllogisms finally revealed…The lapping of the waves on Santorini…The concept of whether ‘tis better to be a lover or an enemy…Though the sun still shines on the Acropolis, I sail westward…Farewell rhetorical fathers…

Between the billows of fog, I see a green land…sea birds whirl overhead…I pull my cloak closer ‘round me…As we pull in two men wait on the dock…My two companions, Sara and Liz, and I speak concerning what we expect them to reveal to us…They are obviously learned men…One wears the raiment of the clergy, the other a pure academic…

The Right Reverend, Dr. George Campbell explains the application of philosophy to us and enlightens us regarding how it was necessary to provide a deeper understanding to the natives of the island on which we stand…His view is that the art of rhetoric is the basis for all other arts; that one must be able to persuade by mastering English…He makes a point I have long held, that “Without communication, there can be no wisdom”…After speaking with Dr. Campbell, the fog rolls in heavier…

When the air lightens a bit, Dr. Alexander Bain introduces himself…Next to him, seeming to materialize from the very air is a very large bookshelf, quite anomalous for dock on a damp shore…Bain explains that the only way progress can be made is for English to be classified and standardized…He hands me a copy of English Composition and Rhetoric: A Manual…Within the pages of this tome I find the basis for what I have always been taught about my beloved English…To inform, persuade, and enjoy…What parts of speech are and how they fit together…How attention to these details ensure effective communication regardless if spoken or written…In stunned wonder I peruse the book, amazed that a mind could so precisely and analytically categorize utterances…I look up to compliment Bain…The fog has lifted…Bain is gone…I am alone…

I survey my surroundings…No horizon…No sky…I am standing on a flat surface…All is stark white…Not blinding or unpleasant; just white, barren, empty…I am alone…

Gradually, from nowhere, yet from everywhere, I hear voices rising and falling in tone and volume…I see a series of groups approaching me…They are not walking toward me, I am not walking toward them, but we move, drawn toward each other…In the first group, I hear one voice above the others first – a woman’s voice – explaining how wrong it is that so long has lapsed since any real innovation has occurred in the study of Rhetoric…Voices rise in assent and dissent among the crowd, “Truth is immutable,” “Outlining is part of the rhetorical process,” “Is what was valid then valid now?”…Some, clad in Cold War regalia speak of the importance to compete with the Soviet Union…I hear the name “Dartmouth” repeatedly ringing through the air…A group rises from the crowd and announce that they have seen where the problem with English composition rests…As this Dartmouth group descends back into the throng, the cavalcade speeds from my view and another appears…

Within this new group, three stand out from the crowd…One alone and two together…The first laments the pressure upon students to “write what they think professors want to read”…To present their thoughts in a foreign language known as Engfish…To overcome this, he says, “Good writers don’t waste words, their voices are authentic, they make the readers believe, they share experience with the reader, they create surprise, they build, ask something of their readers and reward readers with meaning”…From amid the crowd come many voices of agreement…Some disagree, insisting on strict adherence to formalities within the language, opposing free expression…

The two who have been waiting raise their voices and insist that pre-writing could eliminate many problems for English writers…Writing should be a creative endeavor, a journey of discovery, with the transference of the writer’s ideas being the most paramount concept…

The fog deepens…all fades…the sun sets…I await the next dawn…

I sleep…

I wake with the cool heat of the sun caressing my face…there…coming toward me…a large, round building and within it, a stage…I hear men speaking of taming shrews…Hermia and Lysander…Puck…a hunch-backed fratricidal king…Slylock demanding a pound of flesh…I have heard these voices before, but there are other strange ones among them…

In the other direction…women’s voices rise…sweet one moment…insistent the next…apologetic and nurturing one moment…demanding and accusing the next…

When these two groups meet, sometime around December 14, 2015, I will be in the middle…maybe some from previous classes will accompany me…maybe I will be alone…let me at least have another, or two, good, instructional professors…

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