You mean the GREs are good for something?

February 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

Now that I am back in England for three solid weeks until my big ass vacation, or “holiday,” I must force myself to actually do schoolwork.

Today my goal was to start working on my critical review. The assignment is to pick an article and review it, critically. Simple, right?

So this morning, I read through some articles, and found myself devoid of criticism of any kind. Instead of saying, “Well, hold on a minute there buddy…” or even, “You forgot about…” my reactions were all, “Wow, that’s so interesting!” and “I totally agree.” And that, my friends, is no basis for a piece of analytical criticism.

And I was stuck. Couldn’t come up with a damn thing to analyze or criticize or even disagree with. And instead of brilliant analysis, my head was filling with doubts.

Am I really qualified to be here? Am I smart enough to be a grad student?

But I decided to re-read an article, entitled A “Southern Belle With Her Irish Up”: Scarlett O’Hara and Ethnic Identity, by Eliza Russi Lowen McGraw, which is all about how Scarlett’s ethnic Irishness in Gone With the Wind is what enabled her to survive Reconstruction and blah blah blah… and then it hit me. What the hell does McGraw mean by “survive?”

I mean, other non-Irish characters also “survived” if to survive means to “not die.” And if it means to be “successful,” then how do we define success? Scarlett is filthy rich by the end, but her “Irishness” (according to McGraw) has caused her to compromise all her morals and lose at love, and she’s pretty miserable. Is that success?

Anyway, I still need to work out my “critical analysis,” but at least I have my foot in the door now.

And believe it or not, it was the writing section of the GREs that taught me to look for poorly-defined terms as indicators of weak arguments. And all this time, I though the test was just a racially-biased, money-making scheme perpetuating the disparity between advantaged and disadvantaged youth, not to mention a massive waste of time. But I guess I learned something.

So, thanks ETS, you money-sucking scumbags.


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