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Re: SV: [mythsoc] Fwd: Watership Down

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  • ERATRIANO@aol.com
    Hm, this is getting to be fun. Can someone please repost the question, or send it to me privately? To the person who first got the message from Tiffany, do
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 21, 2000
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      Hm, this is getting to be fun. Can someone please repost the question, or
      send it to me privately?

      To the person who first got the message from Tiffany, do you know this
      person? I mean, like Wendell said, there is a certain level of polite intro
      that should be involved here. Sometimes when we are zipping emails around to
      people we already kn ow, we're less formal than otherwise.

      Otherwise, I'm interested in what Steve said also. I initially dismissed the
      whole thing, but now I'm curious. And I've read Watership Down a few times
      (not recently, but), as well as the sequel (don't rush to read that one,
      IMHO). I'd be interested to see what the student has to say initially.
      Maybe a little dialogue would be fun.

      sheesh I shouldn't delete my mail so fast. But it piles up so!

      Lizzie
    • David S. Bratman
      Besides not saying This is my homework, and I would like some suggestions as to where to get information, T-----y also was asking for a flat answer to a very
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 21, 2000
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        Besides not saying "This is my homework, and I would like some
        suggestions as to where to get information," T-----y also was asking for
        a flat answer to a very complex, multi-faceted question.

        I like answering questions, and long ago volunteered to deal with any
        bibliographical questions coming in to the Mythopoeic Society that were
        too easy to have to pass on to Wayne Hammond. (My favorite was from
        someone who'd come across, in a rare-book catalog, an item by Tolkien
        called "The Devil's Coach-Horses" and wondered what it might be. Answer:
        an offprint of a scholarly article.)

        But I've been seriously burned once or twice by people who weren't really
        interested and didn't want to know, they were just collecting answers to
        their homework. So now if the question isn't obviously generated by
        genuine curiosity, as the Tolkien question above was, I double-check.

        But in this case it was easy to figure out what was going on, as the
        entire second paragraph of T-----y's query was written in high-school
        teacherese.

        David Bratman
        - not responsible for the following advertisement -
      • Matthew Winslow
        I m finally back at my computer and have waded through all the WT discussion. As the person who forward poor T s message on, I might as well give an apologia
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 22, 2000
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          I'm finally back at my computer and have waded through all the WT discussion.

          As the person who forward poor T's message on, I might as well give an
          apologia for my actions.

          First, I don't know who T is. The email came to an alias I use to screen
          emails. That means she found a reference on one of my Web pages to having
          re-read WT last year.

          As to how I think T should be responded to, it's a difficult situation. I
          sympathize with both sides of this argument. On the one hand, like Wendell,
          I'd like to say 'do your own homework.' On the other hand, I have dealt with
          many high school students as a tutor, and I have encountered way to many that,
          when approached with a question like this, have no idea how to answer it; that
          is, they have not had the critical faculties needed for such analysis
          developed in their educational career -- they can get really good scores on
          Doom and Quake, but can't answer questions about a text they've read. (I think
          I'm starting to rant, so I'll leave it there.)

          In forwarding it, I was hoping someone on the list might have some insightful
          way to help T answer the question herself; that is, teach her how to fish
          instead of giving her the fish, to paraphrase an old proverb.

          --
          Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
          "No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's
          draft."
          --H.G. Wells
          Currently reading: Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation by David Rohl
        • David S. Bratman
          Matthew: I don t at all blame you for passing T-----y s message on: even realizing waht she was up to, your standards need not be as stringent as Wendell s and
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 22, 2000
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            Matthew: I don't at all blame you for passing T-----y's message on: even
            realizing waht she was up to, your standards need not be as stringent as
            Wendell's and mine and others', and that's OK.

            The problem with your commendably generous approach of "teaching her how
            to fish" is that this kind of fishing -- i.e. approaching a text
            critically and writing about it -- can't be even begun to be taught over
            a single e-mail. Either the student picks it up in the course of
            classwork and homework, or not at all. And I cannot escape feeling that
            T's problem is not so much that she doesn't know how to do it, but that
            she realizes it's hard, and prefers to troll the web looking for anybody
            who confesses to having read WD and see if she can nudge a paper out of
            them instead. Misplaced energy, and a pretty sad thing.

            I'd forgotten that my announcement that I sell a Le Guin bibliography
            (which has been on some other websites before I put it on my own) garners
            me occasional questions. Straightforward bibliographical ones, and
            general recommendations ("I liked LHD; what book should I read next?") I
            always answer; but most of them are from people looking for secondary
            sources on Le Guin, to which I have a stock response; or who actually
            want me to provide the key to understanding "The Ones Who Walk Away from
            Omelas", which, brother, you either understand or you don't. To these I
            provide either a short, elementary answer or, if they're really obviously
            trolling for free term papers like T-----y, I don't reply at all.

            If you promise that it won't get back to her, I actually feel like saying
            a little about society in WD. What struck me most about the book was the
            way the good guys interacted: Hazel leads in a fumbling, indirect, but
            effective way, and every principal character has his specialty: together
            they form a model of a good organization. In fact, as Adams reveals in
            his memoirs, it's largely based on the paratroop unit he belonged to in WW2.

            David Bratman
            - not responsible for the following advertisement -
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