Supersizing the Whopper: Higher Ed in the Trenches

My old graduate-school office-mate “Ivar the Midwesterner,” who teaches at “a nondescript, mid-tier state college west of the Mississippi and east of the Left Coast,” has, for years, collected the wildest, most desperate student-improvisations from the final examination in his survey of the classics in translation.  Some entries in the following catalogue come from as long ago as ten years while others are of recent vintage.  Ivar writes that he started to insert sic where it seemed necessary, but soon grew sic of it.

flipping burgers

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Athene helps Telemachus and Odysseus to be reunited and restore order to Troy.  This all took place around 450 B.C. but it was not written down until 800 B.C.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “In Homer’s Odyssey while Odyssus is gone for ten years trying to get home from Calypso’s isle about 700 B.C. and enduring the many abstacles he faces along the way, the entire time’s he’s trying to restore order with in his selfs life.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Based on my opinion Homer in the Odyssey would be a man from my opinion that believed the things worth dying for were better to kill for based on his work of the Odyssey.

On Homer’s Odyssey: “The Trojan War Saga is one of the most important wars of the early 1100th century B.C.  It changed the entire landscaping of the ancient greek world since the event was recorded initially by Homer in his widely known work, ‘The Odyssey,’ it has been interpreted in many different ways by multiple writers and dramatists.  These interpretation [sic] very [sic] greatly, yet most seem to be the same.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Beginning with Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ written down around 800 BC, when infact the events took place in the 4th century. There are many examples of order, tragedy, and some triumph.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “In Homer’s The Odyssey and Aeneid there is a similarity interesting between the two texts in that both man characters are in relationships.

On Homer’s Odyssey: “The Odessy, written down around 800 B.C., its events are said to actually take place around 500 B.C.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Homer’s Odyssey was a tale about a man named Odysseus who set sail without a ship to fight against the Trojan war in Ithaca, blinding the Cyclopses eye and telling Posidion about his name.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Telemicus could never really become a man because he was always being run over by the suitors.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Odysseus, the main character, though having the hand of Venus (Venus-Isis) right on his side, is faced with much despair when he has to leave his wife and son’s behind before he goes on many ‘adventures’ and encounters things.  He defeats the Cycalopse after barely being eaten and meets Nausicaa while naked then stumbling over Calypso who holds him prisoner and gives him all of the winds.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Due to a picture on a vase it is believed that Homer and his men were forced to blind the Cyclops in his right eye.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “The ending of ‘The Odessey’ was alot like homecoming week ending with Odyssues and Athenus killing all of the suitors.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Even more important than eating Odysseus’s men, the Cyclops didn’t have any ships or laws.”

On Homer’s Odyssey: “Some people probably would not have done anything so killing the suitors was more than just Odysseus saying, whatever.”

On Virgil’s Aeneid: “A large wooden horse is brought by Aeneas from Troy, which Queen Dido thinks is a sign of appreciation.  When the wooden horse is opened up and a number of Greek soldiers jump out, Dido is in shock.  Thankfully, Aeneas and his men show up and promise to restore her disorder.”

On Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid: “Homer’s stance on the Trojan war is different from Vergil’s but just about the same.”

On Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid: “The biggest difference between the Odissy and the Aeneus is that one is a story but the other one is more like a poem.”

On Euripides and Aeschylus (maybe): “In the Trojan women and Aeschylus’s Oresteia, the women manage at last to assassinate the king Agamemnon using the help of Orestious.”

On Augustine’s Confessions: “Much like Odyssus Augustine, who at one time was reared as a saint in Hippo, is tempted by pretty women as well as by a pear tree.  But later he loses his self-control problem and converts into a Christian.”

On a Thirteenth-Century Grail Romance: “In ‘The Quest of the Holy Grale’ Galahad, which was by Jean de Joinville of the 17th century, was going around looking for piece of mind.  Around this time the enlightenment also occurred.”

On the Crusades: “The Crusades was a war fought over in the holy land by the Romans, Catholics and Protestants.”

On the Renaissance: “About the same time as this there was a renizance in Italy with Greeks, and depth prespective and also numerous changes in moors and the types of thought that was allowed.  There costumes were very colorful about this time.  One of them, I forgot his name had a telescope.”

Burger up!

8 thoughts on “Supersizing the Whopper: Higher Ed in the Trenches

  1. This one is the best, hands-down:

    On Homer’s Odyssey: “Due to a picture on a vase it is believed that Homer and his men were forced to blind the Cyclops in his right eye.”

  2. Had to stop reading after about the fifth item. Couldn’t stand it any more; a crippling combination of hilarity and horror, resulting in sickness at the stomach.

    You sure do earn your pay, Tom.

    • “Ivar the Midwesterner” shares your mirth, but he reminds us that the writers, one and all, enjoy the franchise. This fact undoubtedly explains a great deal.

  3. My personal favorite was a student turning in an article copied and pasted from wikipedia complete with blue hyperlinks. When I asked him, he told me that he had written the wikipedia article. Not a bad play, actually.

  4. In the mid-1980s when “Ivar” and I were a teaching fellows in Comparative Literature at UCLA, a student turned in a blue-book with an annotation in it to the effect that, “I didn’t need this second blue-book after all, my essay is in the other blue-book.” Summoned by the chair, she tried to brazen it out, but on questioning could not even name the books on the reading-list.


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