So now, I'll ask of you, let ye create no scenes in my poor
fore's wake. I don't want yous to be billowfighting your Moriarty
duels, gobble gabble, over me till you spit stout. (Finnegans Wake
The billow, or pillow, fighting has died down a good bit in the
last half century since parts of what was to be titled Finnegans
Wake began appearing in several continental journals such as
Eugene Jolas' transition. Times and fashions have changed, and
without a well lit stage, the scorn and the hype, the huff as well as
the puffery, have diminished. Nonetheless, the issues raised by this
work, and the undeniable centrality of its author's impact upon
twentieth century fiction, make Finnegans Wake a work that
should not be consigned to the attic of bibliographies and graduate
studies, hushed up or ignored like an embarrassingly eccentric
But why bother with it? According to familiar wisdom, Finnegans Wake is simply too difficult, probably unreadable. Anyone who tries to "create scenes" or sense in theWake must process syntactically overloaded sentences that often exceed his or her memory capacity. In addition, readers confront a semantically layered language that exploits the possibilities of an English they thought they knew, the French, German, or Spanish they have largely forgotten, as well as all that Gaelic, Rumanian, Danish, and Yiddish they have been saving for a continuing education course in the afterlife. The reader must become accustomed to prose that is ordered by the dream logic of free association rather than the temporal, causal, or implicative order that constrains most narrative discourse. Readers cannot feel comfortable with one stable, privileged narrative voice but must learn that this text often gives us a tangle of them. Joyce's text is a "crossmess parzel" (FW 619.05), a messed-up crossword puzzle the solution to which demands some questing Parzival armed not with a sword but with a stack of lexicons, gazetteers, a census or two, and, above all, McHugh's annotations.
Why bother ourselves or our students with a text that even calls attention to its own unreadability, and hence unteachability?
"You is feeling like you was lost in the bush, boy? You says, It is a puling sample jangle of woods. You most shouts out: Bethicket me for a stump of a beech if I have the poultriest notions what the rarest he all means?" (FW 112)
Joyce's last work seems simply too befuddling to read; it is a
pure and simple jumble of words, a forest of verbal thickets and
beeches, a semantic jungle hiding allusions to people like Samuel
Beckett and some nameless chicken.
Nonetheless, I am urging college instructors to teach passages from theWake not merely to the English major curious to learn what Joyce did between 1922 and 1939 besides undergo numerous eye operations, tend to his mentally disturbed daughter, and consume ample quantities of the local wines. We should teach passages from the Wake to undergraduates, including non-majors.
If handled well, a student will come from two or three class sessions better appreciating what writers can do with language, how they can stretch it out to express a myriad range of possibilities. As Lynn, a solid "C" student, wrote in her journal after her first session, "I enjoyed reading this language because it was like unravelling a mysterious hidden secret. It was fun to see all the different meanings you could get from one word. And with that one word changing its meaning, the whole sentence's meaning changed." Lynn and others can now better value close reading. As Phyllis once asked me, "Are you trying to show us we should read our other texts this carefully?" Moreover, as students struggle with this intimidating text they begin to see how each of us comes equipped with a pre-understanding that both allows insight and blinds us to what others can see. After our first session, Tim wrote, "I enjoyed reading this because it really made me think. In this little exercise, I realized how narrow my thoughts may be. If each one of us expresses how we feel or what we think it means, we see the broader spectrum of things."
Because it is clear that no one, instructor included, can see
everything, the class produces a collaborative reading effort that is
truly egalitarian. Almost immediately, students will have to face the
issue of validity of interpretation. They can watch what operations
they perform on a text in order to make sense of it, debate with
others about the principles of selection and exclusion one could or
should apply in the reading of a text. Above all, they can share
Joyce's delight with language and perhaps understand, as Nora Joyce
could not, why her husband kept laughing to himself as he worked
through the night.
Let me first confess to past sins. There was a time I would spend an hour taking the class on a tour of this text, not unlike the tour a narrator gives of "Willingdon's museyroom" in the Wake. Students listened and took notes as I summarized the text's purported intentions, its structure, its plot, its language, its major recurrent motifs and characters. I played for them Joyce's own mellifluous reading of the last paragraphs from the Anna Livia Plurabelle section (213-216). Despite my enthusiasm and efforts, nearly all were resentful of this opaque text and could see almost no value in reading it. The trouble was that their instructor was doing everything for them, acting indeed like one of those tour guides who points out something clever in a painting before his audience has a chance to discover it. Why not let students experience for themselves the surprise, delight, and continual discovery that make the Wake worth the effort?
At Rhode Island College, I taught Wake in two sections
(thirty students each) of a required course in western literature.
The class consisted mainly of first-year students, some sophomores,
and a scattering of advanced students who had successfully avoided
taking a literature course as long as they could. What follows is an
account of the procedure, results, and pedagogical implications for
what turned out to be one of the most exciting sessions we had as a
For the first class, the students receive a mimeographed sheet containing words or sentences from the Wake. They are not given any information about the identity of the author, his reputation, his work, the title, nature, or considered value of this text. The quotations used for this first hour are fairly readable, clever, and humorous. Reading, as our students keep reminding us, is supposed to be enjoyable. Here is a sampling:
Instructions: Gloss as many meanings as you can for every word that you believe contains more than one meaning. Use this format:
"Chaosmos of Alle"
Chaosmos = cosmos + Chaos, suggesting the co-presence of order and disorder.
"All the vitalmines is beginning to sozzle in chewn and the harmonies to clingleclangle, fudgem, Rates and caps and naboc and cries and oinnos on kingclud and xoxxoxo and xooxox xxoxoxxoxxx."
"the divine comic Denti Alligator"
". . . grisly old Sykos who have done (their) unsmiling bit on alices, when they were lung and easily freudened"
"when Gricks will raze and Troysirs fall"
Relinquishing his role as Informed Reader, as tour guide, the
instructor instead takes a tour of the class; for now, validating
nothing, always asking questions, urging only that students continue
to probe, to play with the language. For the first passage, most
identify the vitamins and the vital mines in "vitalmines." Some make
the connection of the stomach with a vital mine; others note that in
this passage, vitamins are getting extracted. One student makes a
leap to vital lines, suggesting that the author could be referring to
his own language. For "sozzle" we derive sizzle and dissolve. Most
read "chewn" as chewing. No one sees the in tune in "in chewn" until
they come to the word "harmonies" which can be read as hormones as
well as harmonies. "Clingleclangle" confirms the musical metaphor,
even without their instructor having to tell them (which he would not
anyway) that in German Klang means tone or sound. At this point, the
class could reflect upon how reading involves a recursive activity, a
movement back and forth to postulate and then deny or confirm
" Fudgem, kates and eaps and naboc and erics and oinnos on kingclud" is a line that silences discussion for about thirty seconds before some Sunday word jumble lover discovers the peas in "eaps," and then the rest of the class discovers, in rapid fire, the steak in "kates," the bacon in "naboc," and, well, you can finish it. All of this is rather clever and (with those x's and o's) even scatological. Form imitates content. Just as food breaks down in the digestive process, so do the words. Vitamins are extracted, hormones go to work, fudge begins to melt into "fudgem" and so on. All of this activity in these vital lines is accompanied by music: the vitalmines are sizzling in tune, the hormones are in harmony....
The other passages are fairly easy to gloss once students have made it through this one. When we come to the passage about those "grisly old Sykos," we collectively, but not singly, pull out such readings as psychotic, psychoanalyst, orsickoes for "Sykos." Most recognize the allusions to Jung and Freud. One student asks if "alices" might refer to Alice in Wonderland, and their instructor suppresses the urge to tell them that this text as a whole often alludes to the relationship between Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell. Sometimes, however, he can barely restrain his own excitement when a student shows him something he had not seen: the analysis hidden in "on alices." The bawdy passage alluding to the Greeks and the Trojans is solved as soon as some blade discovers the trousers in "Troysirs." Finally, "Collideorscape" brings us collide or escape, kaleidoscope, or a landscape in constant tumult.
At the end of this hour session, the students are asked to write their reactions to these passages in their journals. They are to give their honest responses, not what they think their instructor wants to hear. There are detractors who complain that this is too much like reading a crossword puzzle, that "you don't learn anything from this," that "words should have one meaning; otherwise it is too hard to understand." So far, at least, the detractors number less than 5 percent of the class. Those who have enjoyed the readings comment that they liked picking out meanings hidden in the language. One of the "average" students commented that this made him more aware of what could be done with words. Another wrote, "I really enjoyed reading this. It was like searching for clues, a mystery. There are many meanings to one word and the idea of searching for the truth made it interesting. It was like reading between the lines, a language all its own." Another made a comment that responds as much to his instructor's approach to this text as to the text itself. He appreciated that he was given the freedom to pull out meanings as he saw them, rather than having someone tell him what the text said. Indeed, are we tour guides or educators?
The students' exposure to the text could end here. The instructor
could briefly describe the larger intent of Joyce's work and be
content that his students are now more prepared to perceive semantic
plurality in other texts and can see the value of a close, patient
reading procedure. Moreover, these students actually enjoyed
playing with linguistic possibilities and learned to look at
language as something almost palpable.
Frankly, though, their exposure to Finnegans Wake has not been a truly representative one: Joyce's text is generally not this accessible. How would such first-year and sophomore students, almost all of whom have never taken a college English course, handle a longer, more elaborate passage? Would they make any sense of it? Would any of them actually like it? Would there be any value in their reading it?
For the second class hour, the students are asked to look closely at a longer and more difficult passage from this still nameless text. They receive copies of the last page and the first three lines of the Wake:
sad and weary I go back to you, my cold father, my cold mad
father, my cold mad feary father, till the near sight of the mere
size of him, the moyles and moyles of it, moananoaning, makes me
seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your arms. I see them
rising! Save me from those therrble prongs! Two more. Onetwo moremens
Avelaval. My leaves have drifted from me. All. But one clings still. I'll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff! So soft this morning, ours. Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you done through the toy fair! If I seen him bearing down on me now under whitespread wings like he'd come from Arkangels, I sink I'd die down over his feet, humblydumbly, only.to washup. Yes, tid. There's where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thousendsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved along the (628)
riverrun, past Eve and Adams's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs." (3)
Though everyone contributes glosses for any part of the passage,
groups of three students are arbitrarily assigned sections to focus
on. After each group has glossed its section, the other members of
the class have a chance to add any of their own readings. As in the
last class session, we all gain an appreciation of how each of us can
provide readings that others are blind to and how each of us is
temporarily blind to other feasible readings. Reading the text
becomes a communal act of discovery.
Though some offerings are only slightly supported by the language or the context, their instructor does not discourage any effort at generating meaning. For now, at least, he treats this as the plural, writerly text that Barthes, Lacan, Sollers, Heath, Norris, and other post-structuralist critics have claimed it to be. The students are free to choose which readings seem supportable by the text. And so, most note down the readings for "feary" as fearful, fearsome, and fiery but laugh good-naturedly when someone offers fat her for "father." They discuss the possible readings of "cold" as physically or emotionally cold, of "mad" as angry or crazed, of the miles and miles in ''moyles and moyles"; they recognize the way sound matches sense in "moananoaning"; they see seasick in "seasilt saltsick" but do not yet know that to do with the "silt." One student, another of the "average" lot, reads, "I rush, my only, into your arms," as someone rushing into sea waves. The waves are rising, threatening to drown the speaker. Most see the three and the terrible in "therrble prongs" but miss the treble or the image of Poseidon's trident. The "average" student tries connecting the rising sea waves with "Two more. Onetwo moremens more" by reading it as two more waves, but already notices that he may be forcing his reading too soon. Others show him the two moments as well as the two more men.
I fully expected no one to make anything of "Avelaval." Joyce's ideal polyglot super-reader might indeed perceive the embedded Latin phnase Ave et vale as well as the French l'aval denoting the downstream direction of a river. My students will not. Nonetheless, one student from a Roman Catholic background did see the Latin Ave in the word. One class began playing with the pronunciation and came up with readings that would have made Joyce dance an Irish jig. A student offered the possibility that the word could be read approximately as offal, offal This secretly satisfies their professor at least, the only one in the class who knows that on one level this passage concerns the emptying of the river Liffey, with all of its leaves and other detritus such as animal waste, into Dublin Bay. In the back of the class another "average" student chimes in with "How about aweful, aweful?" Indeed, this suits the context as well: impending death is dreadful, the merging with the Father would be indeed, as they say, "Awesome!" For "My leaves have drifted from me," the class contributes lives, and by metaphoric extension, children. One student offers that leaves can be read as memories, suggesting that the speaker is dying and slowly losing his memory. Another student guesses that leaves could be seen as sins. When he is asked to find one other place that could confirm this interpretation, he points to the treble-prongod figure in a previous line and reads him as Satan with a pitchfork.
"Lff!" brings us Life! but not, of course, the river
Liffey. When they get to what is the most difficult series of lines
in the passage, they first notice that the language has become that
of a young child. Has the speaker returned to his childhood, one
asks. Her instructor turns the question back on her, in a manner so
frustratingly similar to that of some Freudian "Syko": "What makes
you say that?" As much as possible, they must validate their own
readings. It was difficult to suppress my own delight, though, when
one student interrupted herself to ask, "Is this like a dream?"
Another student identifies the references to the dove and archangel Michael. Someone else asks why the word is written as Arkangel. Soon another spots the reference to the dove let loose to find land after the Deluge. Another reminds the class that this dove is a sign of peace. Their professor would like to add a third reading, though of course at this point he does not: the hidden reference to Yeats' "Leda and the Swan" in which the metamorphosed Zeus ravages Leda, engendering the culture that will be classical Greece.
For "I sink I'd die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to washup," most gloss the thinking and the sinking . Those more attuned to the sounds in Joyce's language discern the worship in "washup"; others connect "washup" with the death by water theme: a despairing soul has washed up on shore. One student sees a reference to Mary Magdalene washing Christ's feet. Another timidly offers what most have thought but been reluctant to say: How about Humpty Dumpty in "humbly dumbly"? Why is that here, I ask. Someone offers only that Humpty Dumpty's fall from the wall ended in death. We have here, in other words, another reference to death.
No one here knows that in Danish "lid" means time, or that the Indo-European root for "time" is identical with that for "tide," but no matter. By now someone will read "tid" as tide; if they thought about it further they might remember that tides tell time. No one has much to say, for now, about the grass reference, or why gulls are here, though one will offer that these birds are near the sea. "Far calls" means gulls coming from afar, though one student suggests that "Far" could be read as Father, both human and divine. No one recognizes in "Finn, again" another father figure, the Irish folk hero Finn MacCool, but one notes that "fin" means the end, as in finish. But softly comes from " Bussoftlhee"; no one identifies the outdated term for kiss. One configures the "Til thousendsthee" as until thou sends thee; another reads it as until thou sends me; another reads thousend in the word and wants to convince the class that this could be thousand years. Though they missed the kiss in "Bussoftlhee," they do see lips in "Lps." One student reads "The keys to" as a reference to the keys to heaven, given presumably at the moment of death. No one has much to say about the last phrase ending in "the." Similarly, the group responsible for saying something about why their professor has connected the last line of this book with its opening lines can only comment that there are references to circles here. Oddly, given how perceptive they have been as a group, no one raises the possibility that the book's end is connected with the beginning, that the cycle involved is on one level the cycle of reading this text. It is late, however; most are ready for a break.
The students are now told to spend ten minutes a day for several days glossing the text again, and entering comments in their journals. Inevitably, they will want to know what it means, to reach an interpretive synthesis. To facilitate this process they are asked to respond in their journals to the following questions:
2. Do any ideas or themes recur?
3. Are any feelings evoked by this passage?
Finally, they are asked to write about whether they did or did not enjoy reading this text.
In the days that follow, some, about half, write quite extensive journal entries. Again, I must stress that they have been given no context, no author, no background information, no sense of the authorial intent, pre-packaged and delivered to them, that would condition their reception to this text. They do not know that this is the first and last page from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, a work that attempts to imitate the dream of an Everyman character. They have not been told that this passage has been read in several ways: as the river Liffey returning to and emptying into Dublin Bay; as the feminine archetype, Anna Livia Plurabelle reviewing the cycle of her own life before she meets her God/father/husband/lover and expires; as the last moments before an Everyman figure wakes at dawn from a nightlong dream, as the moment of ricorso in Giambattista Vico's cyclical view of history when cultural epochs end and new ones begin; as the last leaf or page in the book, and hence the last moment in our reading of Joyce's text unless we heed the implicit call to begin again, all along remembering the "keys" we've been "Given!" Students have not been told that this passage, for all of its multiplicity of reference, keeps telling the same tale: death and renewal, whether from the standpoint of a river, a woman, a universal dreamer, cultural epochs, a book. Left to their own devices, once the class has dispersed, and allowed only the aid of a dictionary, will they configure this text at all? Even if they do, will it have been worth it to them?
During the days that intervene before our next meeting, the students puzzle over the text, identifying the speaker and the subject matter as fully as they can, often posing, refining, and eliminating hypotheses. Though the identity of the speaker often changes from student to student, all tend to agree that this is a moment of death when the speaker, be he/she priest, young woman, child, drowning sailor, Saint Peter, Everyman, seeks some sort of forgiveness from a father figure. For example, Debbie's journal entries after our first session on this passage first claim that the speaker is a child addressing her father as he drowns. "Whitespread wings" she reads as the open arms of Jesus enveloping the child as it enters heaven. In her last entry she claims that the "speaker could be anybody," that he/she is "running from sin or danger," is hoping to be forgiven for his/her sins. Jonathan, from the outset, can "find no indication of the gender," though he has a "feeling" that it is a woman. He later concludes that the speaker stands for all of humanity. In this passage, this everyman figure is "at the end of his/her life reflecting back over all his/her life." Joyce is convinced that the speaker is a female child trying to atone with an angry father. Interestingly, a majority of the students read into the passage something their instructor has overlooked: the speaker's need to confess to some nameless sin. As Tracie notes, "I think the story is about a sinner being haunted by one final sinthe almightly one that he can't get rid of."
When the students pose their own questions, two major concerns recur. First, many claim that to make better sense of the passage they need to know more background information about the author and the book from which the passages were taken. Giving them a sense of the larger context, though, would have constrained their semantic choices. The power of the lectern to inhibit inquiry became apparent when I gave them a synthetic reading of the passage for the last class. Journal entries after this manifest a disturbing sameness. The message had been received; the operation was a success, but the patient (the text) died. Second, almost all want to know why someone would write in this manner. Adelio surmises that the author wanted to "force the reader to read it more than once." With each successive reading the reader would be "forced to see something more." Debbie thinks the author may be using this kind of language "because the story itself seems to relate to heaven, death, God, devil, and to man, these are all ideas of mystery. . . . As the afterlife is difficult to solve, so is this passage."
Reading the passage aloud provides students with even more
information. Before doing this, Michael felt no emotions evoked by
what he, interestingly enough, insists on calling "the poem": "But
when I read it aloud I seem to get a feeling of sadness. A sense of
need for forgiveness before it's too late or something like that."
Reading it aloud also enables him to perceive another level of
reference: "The beginning of the poem starts out slowly but toward
the middle speeds up, quicker and quicker like a river running
downstream picking up more and more speed." Frankly, Michael is one
of those disturbing surprises: so far in the term he has done
indifferent work at best. But with this text, he keeps making such
perceptive guesses that I have to re-configure my view of him as I
would a line from the Wake .
Unless they do read the text aloud, most of the students do not report that they felt any particular emotion, though they can identify emotions in the speaker. For Gary, the speaker "moves from fear, to remorse, to excitement." For others the speaker expresses "sadness," "weariness," "exhaustion." For most, the effort to glean as much as they can from the text and to synthesize this information obstructs their own affective responses. In responding to the question, "Did you feel any emotion in reading this?" one student wrote, "I just feel like l'm going to explode. My brain is the only thing involved but I get really excited, and confused, very confused.... Everything I'm feeling is a response to the process of thinking about the various possible meanings and connections."
When they ask themselves whether or not they enjoyed the passage, they give a mixed response. As their instructor expected, there will be no 95 percent approval this time. The group is split approximately into thirds among those who derived little or no pleasure from the text, those who experienced an ambivalent reaction, and those who enthusiastically filled many journal pages with extensive notes.
Those who mainly resented the text feel that the effort of
decoding (or, as Joyce himself would have termed it, "decording") the
language exceeds any pleasure they experience. One student echoed one
of the first critical responses to Joyce's text in the late 1920s
when he wrote, "People of any intelligence would avoid it because of
the madness it induces." Clearly, for this student and others in his
group, the frustration of never fully snythesizing their readings, of
not being able to come to a satisfying interpretive closure precluded
their appreciation of Joyce's "Chaosmos." Post-structuralist anxiety
also afflicts the second group. In their case, however,
pleasure accompanies the frustration. It was "fun to try and figure
out the meaning . . . but it was also discouraging because it led me
to second guess myself many times." This group found reading this
passage to be worthwhile but probably would not want to read more.
For the last group, their inability to fully master this text should
be particularly frustrating, for these students on average have
written over ten pages of commentary probing the language,
postulating, testing, rejecting hypotheses. For some of them, the
text has become an obsession: they go to the dictionary, tease out
second and third meanings for a word, and populate their journals
with exclamation points as they probe deeper into language than they
ever have before. After admitting that his own interpretation was
overly conditioned by Biblical clues in the text, Ricky writes that
he "enjoyed very much wrestling with and trying to come up with a
unique answer which can be supported." Ricky's response is
instructive: he was the one who in the first session had not enjoyed
reading the language because "words should have one meaning." Jill
saves her response to whether or not she enjoyed this text for the
last assignment, given after our last session in which the professor
gives the students a standard interpretation for the passage and
answers questions. They are all then to go home and write a "letter"
to some friend in which they discuss this assignment and their
response to it. As Jill tells "Kathy":
"What is this passage about? It's about language in a sense. Some words are altered, some created. Most have a myriad of possible or implied or suggested meanings. The words and their meanings tumble over one another like the sea described in the passage. Yes, the ocean is one of the things this is about but there's more, there's so much more. Simultaneous readings collide in your headwell, this word could mean this, and connected with thatit could be religiousbut this word can also mean this, and if you connect it with this other word, we've got a sea, or maybe we've got a human being, an adult, a child, God, Satanbeginnings, endings, memories. So you follow one rending but it's a thin veneer, the others showing throughone under the other, a mosaic of meanings. So when you cling to one, you cannot forget the others. Memoriesis this passage meant to be the experience of what is described? .... If it isn't obvious alreadyI loved reading it. I mean sometimes I was a wild-eyed, restless maniac thinking it was all pretty ridiculousbut those were the moments you could have never convinced me to stop thinking about it. I liked tearing it apart and thinking about itthe process of discovery, when a possible meaning, a connection between two words or two lines, happened it was as if the whole world had new meaning, not just these two words. And then connecting the words to create a picture, and getting all excited, and then having a new connection of your own or somebody else's that knocks bits and pieces down, shifts things so nothing quite fitsit creates incredible frustration but a desire to rearrange until it works againand then seeing if it stands up or falls down. The whole thing is horribly frustrating but a heck of a lot of fun. I really enjoyed doing it with other peoplebecause I would have gotten very little out of it on my own."
All of these students came to this exercise determined to find verifiable textual meaning. They were like those Lilliputian characters in the Wake who scrutinize the fallen hero Gulliver/Finn, "all there scraping along to sneeze out a likelihood that will solve and salve life's robulous rebus, hopping round his middle like kippers on a griddle" (12.32-35). Some resented that they could not derive a single configuration that solved and salved all the indeterminacies. For others, the process of discovering multiple readings compensated for their inability to master the passage. They could enjoy the linguistic kinesis: "But look what you have in your handself! The movibles are scrawling in motions, marching, all of them ago, in pitpat and zingzang for every busy eerie whig's a bit of a torytale to tell" (20.20-23)
Joyce's "muddest thick that was ever heard dumped" (296.20-21) taught these students some valuable lessonsabout what language can be made to do, about their own role in generating and restricting meaning, about the value of alternative viewpoints. Their instructor made his own discoveries. Clearly the role of writing is crucial. Encouraged to respond to a text on a daily basis for several days, students have a chance to reconsider prior glosses and produce more. We should leave them alone with a test to meditate over, to write about, to understand over time, to respond to as they best can, all along guided by questions that demand close reading. Part of the problem in teaching any polysemous text is that we give students too much information to work with or deny them the chance on their own to perceive the plenitude in literary language. When accompanied by small group discussions, the journal also helps democratize the class, leaving more of the responsibility for critical and creative thought with the student.
All of this is rather like Themistocles pontificating while Socrates and others pull at their sandals. Let me close with an orchestrated dialogue.
A: What good is all this anyway?
A: Do you have any suggestions?
B: I thought you would never ask....