I have been teaching English for the past ten years in a major American city. Throughout my career I have saved pieces of student writing that were particularly memorable. The following quotes are from actual student essays:
1. Choose a metaphor from Macbeth and explain the meaning behind it.
When Lady Macbeth says, “My hands are of your color; but I shame to wear a heart so white” she is really saying, “I am a two-faced terrible treacherous twat!”
2. In your opinion, is Odysseus worthy of the title hero?
Odysseus is not a hero, he’s a douchebag.
3. In your opinion, is Odysseus worthy of the title hero?
Odysseus is my hero because he’s the man. He’s got a hot wife at home but then he goes around banging all these hoes around the globe. That’s my dream right there.
4. Create an argument related to the sources on the assessment.
The essay question asks me to create an argument using sources from the assessment. How do I do that? An argument implies that there are two views or opinions which are being compared or contrasted. This would be impossible since every article on the assessment expresses the same opinion. But fear not, I have enough real life experience to make up for your bullshit question…. In closing, thanks for wasting an hour of my life reading about brain dead people with the combined intelligence of one orangutan.
5. Compare the tone or authors’ attitudes in the two poems, “To Helen” by Edgar Allan Poe and “Helen” by HD.
The tones in the two poems about Helen of Troy are really different. One guy thinks she’s totally the bait and the other guy thinks she’s like the biggest ho.
6. Explain how Fitzgerald uses Nick Carraway to express the thematic element of conscience.
In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the narrator Nick Carraway is used to express the theme of conscience. Fitzgerald uses Nick to contrast with the empty morals of East Eggers, such as Tom and Daisy. Fitzgerald stresses the importance of conscience to comment on the underlying ugliness of what many call the American dream. I should really continue writing about this topic, but to be honest, it is boring the crap out of me. I want to write about something else. And I know that most teachers only read the first paragraph of our essays, so I’m just going to fill in the rest with other stuff that is more fun. Like maybe I could write about cheese. I love all different kinds of cheese. American cheese is amazing as well as provolone. That’s what makes pizza so much tastier, when they use provolone instead of mozzarella. What else should I talk about? How about how weird the people in this class are? Seriously, have you ever noticed the girl in the back with the dandruff? It’s like all over her shoulders and it’s really nasty. And the guy in the front row who is always squinting and clearing his throat so loudly and wiping his nose on his sleeve. It’s like he’s in 1st grade. Anyway, I guess this looks long enough and I’ll end it. That is how Fitzgerald develops the theme of conscience in the context of the American dream.
7. Describe a notable experience or hardship you have endured and the lesson you learned.
In middle school I started experimenting with my sexuality. I had sex with this guy that was on my school bus. He told everyone at school that I’m fat and have a small dick. Everyone made fun of me. I had to switch schools. I hate him and I didn’t really learn anything except that you can’t trust other gay guys.
8. Describe a notable experience or hardship you have endured and the lesson you learned.
I cut myself all the time. I cut my arms and legs. I learned to wear long sleeves and pants so that no one can see the scars.
9. Write a letter to a Holocaust survivor of your choice. Express your feelings about their experience and ask any lingering questions you may have.
What’s up? I was just reading about how you got shot in the neck but then pretended to be dead and crawled through the forest and stuff. When I read that I was like WHAAAT! That’s gangsta! Anyways I got a few questions because my teacher wants me to ask you questions even tho you prolly dead by now. So remember when they rounded all you up and made you live in the getto and everything? Were you like so blown, just like wanting to kill them but you couldn’t and everything? And also when they made you wear the yellow star, I was just wundrin why because like couldn’t they tell you were Jews by looking at you? Why’d they have to make you wear that star? Anyways, don’t get mad at God because he still loves you. I’m Catholic, so I know. You made it out that camp so that’s how you know it’s all good. It sucks how they killed your mom and sister and stuff. Life just be like that, happy then sad. Seriously tho, nice job with pretending to be dead and all. Air high five!
10. How does Hamlet’s attitude toward revenge change throughout the play?
I don’t know if Hamlet’s attitude changes because I haven’t been reading the play. I haven’t been reading because I dislike Shakespeare or Sphere or however you spell that. It doesn’t teach grammar and adds to my bad spelling because it’s old English which is craptastically annoying. Even if you argue that craptastically isn’t a word, which I’m sure you will, you get my point.
11. How was Winston and Julia’s relationship an act of rebellion against the party in 1984?
Love is a bother. The very thought of it makes me want to puke. True love doesn’t pay. You have to listen to them every day, buy stuff for them, and talk to them if they have problems. When it comes to gay marriage I do not approve but if they want to dig their own graves let them. This reminds me of a story. Long ago it was a warm Sunday morning I think the governor banned gay marriage and the gay people started a petition but he said no. They kept at it until he said yes. So marriage is about hard work and that’s not for me. Love bores me and did you know that love backward is evil but change the o to an i.
12. Write a one-page letter of introduction, including anything you would like me to know about you.
I am a student of many flaws and few redeeming qualities. I have a strong dislike for the subject of English and those who teach it. I would love to love literature but you make us read books that have little to no merit and tear apart students’ papers and ridicule them with a slew of your red pen markings. This makes me despise the English subject. I would love to read a book that might teach me something about life and not some irrelevant bullshit. I would love to have a teacher who doesn’t argue with me about my opinions and views. Sadly, I do not believe I will be blessed to have such an ideal class and competent teacher and therefore I cringe at my thoughts and predictions about this semester. There must be other things about me other than my complete hatred for the subject of English. I like to play World of Warcraft. I like math. I have a brother. I hope you help change my mind about English this semester.
13. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the speaker’s argument.
I seriously have no idea how to answer this so I’ll just tell you about something I’m worried about. I don’t want to just sit here and not write because then you’ll ask me why I’m not writing anything. I think I may have gotten a girl pregnant. I don’t even like her and she has a boyfriend already. So really I don’t know if it’s mine or not. I hope not.
14. Write an essay about the first chapter of the novel in which you explain how it foreshadows future events.
Since we’re supposed to write about the first chapter I can’t because I studied with Humphrey and Seymour yesterday and I went over the end of the book. I think Seymour did the beginning but he never told me about it so maybe you could look at his answer.
15. How is the text still relevant for today?
I really like it when you wear dresses. You should wear them more.
16. How do the various stereotypes about women presented in the text serve the author’s purpose?
On the day we had that tornado drill is when we talked about this.
17. Describe how the author manages to give internal events the sense of excitement, suspense, and climax usually associated with external action.
This question is inappropriate and I’m not going to answer it.
18. Explain how the character’s alienation reveals the surrounding society’s assumptions or moral values.
This is a trick question and I will not be tricked!
19. Write a one-page letter of introduction, including anything you would like me to know about you.
Why are the people around me so open about their lives? Their grades, their activities, their thoughts are all pasted on a website for all the molesters and killers to see. 1984 warns of dependency on technology and how humanity is mutated rather than enlightened. I am different. I realize that the smiles and laughs around me are phony. I realize that the beauty most people see in each other is really a disgusting attempt for attention. I am better than them. I know the suffering that others read in books or watch on TV. I have experienced true love for my family and I have had it taken away from me. And I have survived. I will show them what true hatred is, true pain. I will push them away from me so that when they return, they will be stronger. I will save these people from their own destruction.
20. Name a book that changed your perspective on the world and describe how it impacted you.
A book that made the biggest impact on me is “Everyone Poops.” It made me realize that pooping is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone should read this book and realize that yes, everyone really does poop. That means it’s okay, right? Right.
21. Name a book that changed your perspective on the world and describe how it impacted you.
A book that changed my perspective on the world is Fifty Shades of Grey. I loved it because it’s like Twilight but more dirty and stuff. OMG! Christian Grey is so hot and Ana OMG! I couldn’t put it down for a minute. It made me cry and I was a little worried at the end. But then I was like there’s two more books so it’s ok!
22. Name a book that changed your perspective on the world and describe how it impacted you.
I love Twilight it’s so amazing how Edward saves Bella from the truck hitting her or when he sucks the venom from the bite from James. When he never leaves the hospital when she broke her leg and when they play baseball and James gang shows up and Edward gets defensive.
23. Name a book that changed your perspective on the world and describe how it impacted you.
I hate reading it bores me and I HATE big books so I saw Twilight and said to myself another book about vampires this is going to suck and I really didn’t want to read it because it was so big but since nothing else interested me and everyone was like omg you have to read this book I bought it and I found out that I had finished a 500 page book in less then two days and I was so happy cause I never read a big book like that but anyways there isn’t anyone in the world who don’t wish Edward Cullen was real cause I do seriously and it made me think maybe vampires really do exist.
24. Name a book that changed your perspective on the world and describe how it impacted you.
I’d pick Thug-a-licious because there’s so much drama and twists and turns and shit you don’t expect.
25. College application essay question: Evaluate a significant experience you have had and its impact on you.
A significant experience I had was my second abortion.
26. Respond to the following quote, “To be creative one must be a touch insane.”
Humans are not Vulcans. But autistic people are. Most humans see autistics as weird and crazy but really they are Vulcan.
27. Write a memoir using only six words.
Want love, only got deez hoes.
28. Write a memoir using only six words.
I’m smiling but dreaming of murder.
29. In order for me to get to know you better, please complete the following sentence: If you really knew me, you’d know that…
If you really knew me you’d know that I’m a pothead.
30. What is at the top of your “bucket list” (things you want to do before you die)?
I wanna go to Jamaica to smoke that good shit.
31. Write a one-page reflection on the activity we did in class today.
In order to reflect on today’s activity, a strong skill of talking BS is required, which I don’t have.
32. Using a similar tone and style to that of the author of “How to Spot a Witch,” write an article entitled, “How to Spot a _______,” and fill in the blank with a type of person for whom you can write a detailed description.
MILF is an acronym that stands for “mother I’d like to f-ck.” MILFs are women who are still attractive, even if they’re more than 30 and have had several children. In the erotic dreams of teenagers, MILFs are highly sought. So how do you spot one?
-Awesome Body and Beautiful Tits: According to many online guides, the first thing about a MILF that catches one’s eye is her hot body. If the woman is 30-35 years old, tall and athletic with nice breasts and long hair, she’s probably a MILF. Here is a simple test: just take the suspected woman in front of a dozen heterosexual teenagers and if their jaws drop and their eyes are wide open, then she’s a MILF.
– The Lingerie Store: Usually a MILF is dissatisfied with her husband or is divorced and she tries to look hot to capture the attention of young good looking boys. Compelling evidence is the underwear she wears. If she buys provocative garter belts, thongs, and lacy bras in a lingerie store then there is no doubt that she’s a MILF.
-The Diet: A MILF must avoid sweets, fats and carbohydrates to remain attractive. Bring her to a fast food restaurant and if she orders a diet coke and a salad and talks about dieting she might be a MILF.
WARNING: Once a MILF seduces you, there is no way out. Any attempt to speak of age differences or the law is useless and may even increase her attraction to you!