Though it wasn’t something we read, this week the idea I keep mulling over in my mind was a bit from class today when we were looking at examples of responses to Tompkin’s essay. Dr. Seaman said to be analytical, not evaluative. I cannot deny that I am a strongly opinionated individual, and the bothersome kind that likes to let you know said opinions (and in depth) despite the level of interest to others. I don’t like to give that up because I think it’s important to talk about such opinions but I must put that aside when the assignment calls for it. It’s not like I cannot have and cannot share these opinions—I just cannot harp on evaluative opinions when the assignment asks for an analysis and expect it to be fine.
I was surprised to see how acceptable the second example response essay was and how underwhelming the first was. Perhaps due to my high school studies, I am naturally more inclined to lean towards the type of essay presented first. The nun who taught me about English Literature in the twelfth* grade would have a conniption over the latter essay. She would see it as a well written but off-topic tangent that is not sufficiently directly related to the original essay.
Oh, and I did really like the concept of borrowing ideas, not books. It seems clear to me that it is a very true statement in theory, though it does allow the notion that one can own an original idea. If you believe you (singular) can own original ideas, it follows that you believe you can own an idea in general. It also follows that only one person can own an idea. I suppose I can fathom the ownership of an idea, but I see the transfer of ideas more as a gift than a loan. If I read an idea that I like, I can’t readily give that idea back. At least not without Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-esque neurological tools. The idea has become mine. This doesn’t mean that the original idea-haver no longer has ownership; I’d like to think of it as joint custody. I should still cite the idea in a paper because it is still an issue to claim the originality of the idea. So, I guess I come to the same conclusion as they do in the MLA handbook (plagiarism is bad) but I come from a slightly varied route.
*Not to be completely off-topic**, but I simply detest the spelling of the word “twelfth.” Just look at all of those consonants fighting to be pronounced! Ugh. Gross.
**Err, unintentional proof of my opinionated nature and my need to share these opinions. Heeehhhhhh.