Also, joy of joys, I have a paper to write tonight. I'm not actually writing it now, for I plan to make sure that I write it last-minute, thus ensuring torn-out hair, weeping, and a panic attack.
Actually, the way the paper's designed is pretty much playing towards my strengths. I'm analyzing two excerpts of a Milton poem and forming conclusions about why X is used in order to show X.
Plus I get to talk about the Fates, the Furies, and that other set of freaky immortal sisters in greek mythology who only had one eye to share among them all. Ooh boy, if there's one thing I can talk about allllll day long, it's the classics, baby. And by classics, I mean, classical Greek and Roman stories. I have Ovid's Metamorphoses tatooed on the back of my hand.*
I'm almost in a paper-writing mindframe. Which is good because the only school club that I belong to (you may call me a geek, but only this one time), the English Club, we're throwing a paper workshop tomorrow. I'm bringing the soda.
And Now For a Frank Talk about Writing Papers
"Wuthering Heights is like, soooooo romantic. I mean, I think the best part is that Heathcliff and Catherine really love each other. It's like, if I was in love with this guy and couldn't have him, I'd totally be depressed. And I was like, OMG Heathcliff is so mean, but I can totally understand why he did all that stuff because it's soooo tragic and people were really mean to him, which isn't nice."
No, that's not my opinion on that damn book (did not enjoy it, btw). And thank the gods, I haven't encountered anyone saying it. Because I'd have to beat their ass if I did. That is an example.
"An example of what?" Well, Voice in my Head, it is an example of the Thing That Reg Hates. I'm not a hater by definition, and I'm not a snob, but I *despise* the "conversational tone" when writing formal and critical papers.
"Why do you hate the conversational tone?" Well, Voice in my Head, it's because I feel that it should be used in different settings, such as this lj post. However, when trying to write an intelligient A-worthy paper, I hate it when the writer feels the need to talk directly to *you* as either the audience or the teacher/professor. In one of my classes last year, we had to critique papers of our peers and I did one of my friends. And *gah.*
The ideas were good, the thesis strong, but it kept on having a running coversation with *me* the reader. Personally, I feel that if you're taking all the trouble to sit down, research, analyze text, and form a thesis, etc., there is NO reason to have such an informal, loose tone with *me.*
I am not reading your paper to become best friends with you. I am trying to be convinced of your findings and to understand that you aren't just talking out of your ass and that you may have thought out some really brilliant ideas. I am waiting to be impressed. When someone overuses the opinionated "I" in a paper (when writing a critical paper and then ending up just saying what you liked and didn't like) or speaks to the audience in a casual manner, that does not impress me. And by *that* me, I just mean me, the crazy person writing an entry on what sort of papers turn me off.
I do like candlelight dinners, though. ;-)
Be cool and smart, witty even, but don't write it like you'd say it in class. By that I mean, it's cool in class discussions to have a conversational tone, as you are having a conversation. In a formal MLA style paper with tons of quotes, examinations of those quotes, a strong thesis, and other fancy college things, it is just *wrong* to be all chatty.
And yes, it's a total pet peeve. And I know that some paperse are allowed to be written like that. It just drives me up a wall.
This is why I could never be a tutor, I'd frighten the people I was supposed to be helping.
"No! Damn you, why did you use 'you' in this paragraph? It's supposed to be detached and critical! Be critical! AHHHHHHHH!!!"
Okay, maybe I wouldn't scream.
(*total lie, as it would have to be in very small print to all fit on my hand and also? I'd never get a tattoo. And having one with literature would guarantee that I'd never get laid.)