A Call to Arms
by Johnathan Skidmore
This is a call to arms. English majors, we are in the midst of
a battle. It is a battle of wits, fought not with weapons of
convention, but with the artillery of academia. Oft have we
heard the adage, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” but oh,
how we tend to forget the true power of ink in the hands of an
able wordsmith. We, the writers, control the text. George
Orwell wrote about this amazing power in 1984, stating,
“Whoever controls the past controls the future. Whoever controls
the present controls the past.” We, the English majors, have
the potential to control the future. Take that, Physical
So, my brethren,
next time you find yourself awake at three o’clock in the
morning with your fingers slowly typing out a paper, throw your
head and back and let loose an evil laugh. For you, you are an
English major and you follow a discipline that has shaped
worlds. With your pen, you can raise or raze entire nations.
With your stylus tipped with ink, you can create worlds unknown
and undiscovered. Your fingers upon the keyboard become
the rhythm of the muses dancing in the minds of many.
Oh slingers of words!
Let not this power go to waste. Grasp it within your sweaty
hands and hold it tight to your bosom. Make the written word
your own and thrive on it. Think in prose and dream in verse.
Consume the words of your predecessors and use them to fuel the
furnace of your artistry. But soft! A warning lies here.
Be careful with your gift. Heed the sage-like words of Stan
Lee, who cautioned his readers, writing, “With great power,
comes great responsibility.” Use your knowledge to further
the discipline, society, and yourself. Create the works to
guide and entertain your children. Leave your mark upon
this world and leave it deep. As an English major, you
envelope yourself within the works of those that went before
you, those masters of the classics. Follow in their
footsteps and you too may be anthologized. Become the next
Hemingway, Asimov, Keats, Wordsworth, King. Write and
someone will read.
Our art, however,
leads a fragile existence. The English discipline is beset on
all sides by that which would destroy it. The tedious
nature of time causes those to forget its glory. We must
band together to save it. We are the keepers of the flame
of literature. Without our hands to feed its fires with
leaves of paper, it would extinguish. I beg of you, for
the good of mankind, for the continuation of the written word,
compose! Author! Pen! Create. Without
you, all is lost. Enjoy your craft and read everything you
can find from Spenser to Seuss.
Next time you
despair, next time you find yourself at a loss for words, next
time you look out your window to see fellow students playing in
the snow only to look back and find an incomplete sentence
staring you in the face, Remember! You are an English major.
Take up your pencil, your pen, your well-worn keyboard, and
shout, in your best impersonation of a German Watson, “Zees is
zee mahster deezeepleen!” For after all, English truly is
the master discipline and you are its disciples. Spread
Can You do as an English Major?
by Jamie Jasmer
I don’t know if any of you have had the
same experience as myself, but when I told my mother that I had
declared myself as an English major freshman year I thought that
an atomic bomb had been dropped right in the center of our
living room. Rants of “What are you going to do with your life?”
“Who does anything as an English major?” and “Can you get a
REAL job with that?” flew out of my mother’s mouth almost on
a daily basis. As if being an English major wasn’t bad enough,
I was going to be an English major who did not want to teach
English, nor did I want to be a writer. After coming up with a
seemingly logical reason for my choice to become an English
major, (I wanted to be a lawyer; therefore, I would need to know
how to write well) the persecution from my mom seemed to subside.
It is now
my senior year and I still do not want to do anything that is
necessarily related to English. However, this summer I was
finally able to show my mom that you really can get a good
paying job being an English major. For the duration of the
summer and continuing on the weekends now that I am back at
Monmouth College, I work at St. James Hospital and Health
Centers in Olympia Fields, IL as a Clinical Research Associate
in a Cancer Institute. One of my responsibilities is to create and edit informational medical documents. This
is a job where my abilities and skills as an English major have really come
into play. I am not the only lucky MC English major
though, Monmouth College graduates who were English majors
have also had success in Masters and Doctoral programs in
English, Public Policy, Communication Theory, History, Business
Administration, Social Work and Sports Administration. Law
school, high school teaching, and Public Relations work have
been the most frequent reports from other alumni, but more
recently the English Department hears from those who are
software specialists, private and civic event planners, trade
writers, and Web designers. The English faculty believes that
“if you can read, think critically, write well and speak well,
the possibilities are many.” So if you’ve ever had any doubts
or fears about the choice that you made, know that there is
life after Monmouth College being an English major. Let Mom and
To calm your fears just a little more, I highly encourage you to
attend the English Department's Mentoring Day meeting. The
meeting will be held Wednesday, October 26th at 1pm in the
Mellinger Learning Center's Great Room on the main floor.
(P.S. afternoon classes are cancelled so there are no excuses for not
attending) At this informational meeting we will discuss
opportunities within the major and off-campus study programs
that are designed closely for English majors. You will
also get to hear from upperclassmen about their exciting
experiences with these programs. Last, but certainly not
least, two MC English major alumni will be available to talk about
their experiences in the professional world. The meeting
should take about an hour, so come, learn, enjoy, and if nothing
else, meet some other great English majors!!!
Where is Kelly Winfrey?
An exposé into the teaching
by Kelly Winfrey
You are probably
wondering where Kelly Winfrey is this semester. Well the truth
is, Kelly Winfrey is no more, it’s Miss. Winfrey to you. (Ok,
that was my attention getter! Five points for the rubric.) Time
to get serious- I am student teaching this semester; three 85
minute English classes filled with 60 fifteen to eighteen year
olds. I am going to give you a little glimpse of what it is like
to feel like you are changing or ruining the world.
cliques in all my classes, and this is something that I struggle
with and hate, but mostly can’t do much about. I hate it because
a lot of students end up getting left on the fringes, attempting
to get noticed by any means possible. They are the ones left
alone and fighting against their peers, their teachers, and
themselves in all the worst ways. One of the students in my
first block is a gangly, blue-eyed, “Magyc” fanatic who has
shaved the back of his head leaving only a section of dark black
bangs at the front. He is a sweet, wholesome, smart boy who is
constantly trying to be important. Some days he comes into class
with outrageous stories. Other days he is silent and solemn
refusing to do work while reading his newest witch and wizard
novel. He walks in early every day like a sly fox and I am sure
that he is invisible to most teachers. He doesn’t act up
or make himself noticed for negative reasons, but he tries to
make himself blend in. I notice him.
I see him
every day attempting to assimilate, but he cannot. He is truly
his own. I never see him with friends. After school or before
school it is just him, his locker, and his “Magyc” book. He sits
on the floor, knees to his chin, trying to be invisible. I
seriously love this kid, because he is really smart and most
days my cooperating teacher is telling me that he is “no good,”
that he is “trying to pull one over on us” (what does that
mean?) or that he is probably “struggling with his sexuality”
because he wants to be an interior decorator (funny, I thought
he wanted to decorate because he is really good at drawing. I
guess I missed something in “how to identify a homosexual”
education class). It’s funny; he is so invisible to her that she
misses everything that’s so great about him. She misses him. And
I refuse to be that teacher because I am here for the invisible
kids too who are trying to blend into the mint green walls, or
sink through the hard plastic desks. I don’t think I could even
begin to tell you how amazing all these kids are.
The truth is, I
dream about these kids when I am away from them. I want to know
what they did last weekend, how they are feeling, what I can do
to help them. And when I dream, usually they are these
nightmares where I am constantly trying to help them, but all I
can hear is silence and all I can see is apathy. I want so badly
to have them see me as someone who cares about them, someone who
sees them. I want to understand them. I want them to talk to me.
But in these nightmares things are as they are, and I am as I
am--silenced and held back, unable to show them all of my true
self that cares so deeply for them and cares so little for
their grades or the awful worksheets I have to give them.
Because the truth is, this classroom that I am assisting in is
not my classroom. I am under someone else's watch, and I
feel like it is hindering me and hurting my students. Why is
school all about grades and success or failure? Why isn't it
about growth and healthy self image?
In all reality,
I don't care about semi-colons or late papers. I care about
their late night drunken stupors, car rides, razors screaming
for attention, pot, angry parents, wounded lovesick hearts,
and-and-and I care about these fragile frames that are holding
so much more than just a book bag filled with busy homework.
They are holding the weight of adolescence, the frustration of
world tragedy, and the journey of self discovery. I am just
dreaming every day about my classroom. What it could be
like, the things that I could commit to. Right now, I am here to
learn how to be logical and traditional about teaching. I am
here now to sit behind my wooden desk staring at these students
and dreaming about the ways that I can plan for my classroom to
be unsystematic and unconventional. Now don’t get me wrong,
reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic are great, but I know there is
more that I want to be doing; there is more that these students
need to talk about. Some things are really hard
right now, but mostly, I am learning a lot about myself and this
thing they call teaching. I am laughing and dancing and sweating
a lot more than I ever thought I could (I finally understand you
Rob Hale). Oh, and I already had a girl tell me I was her
favorite teacher so if the English faculty could just present me
with an award or something that would probably be in order.
- The English Department Mentoring Week meeting will be held
Wednesday, October 26th at 1pm in the Great Room of Mellinger
Come to this informational meeting and bring others who might be
interested in English Studies. All are welcome.
ACM Chicago Arts Program visits Monmouth!
Director of the ACM Chicago Arts Program, will be hosting an
information session and presentation about off-campus study in
Chicago on Thursday, October 27th
at 4:00pm in Room 107 of
McMichael Academic Hall. She will also be available at a table
during lunch outside the dining hall to answer any questions.
Students with professional goals in the arts and humanities
should be sure not to miss this important opportunity to meet
with the Program Director, learn more about what students do at
the Chicago Arts Program, and discover how you can benefit from
a semester of urban culture. Bea will discuss internships, the
curriculum, strategies for applying to the Program, and how your
off-campus semester can be integrated with your current course
of study. The interest meetings are open to non-arts majors and
arts majors alike, and we invite students of all disciplines to
attend to learn more about the exciting opportunities available
through the ACM Chicago Arts Program.
tutoring hours at the Mellinger Learning Center have changed.
There are updated schedules posted around campus and there is
also an updated version available on this website. Please
note that certain hours have changed and a new Japanese tutoring
session has also been added. To find this information
quickly, please click here.
What Do You Think Is the
Most Important Thing That You Have Learned from the Monmouth
College English Faculty?
I think that the most important thing
I have learned is how to overcome my fear of public
speaking. As crazy as it sounds, I am more confident
speaking among large groups. For every class of
Professor Watson's I had to give an oral précis in front of
the whole class.
I have learned when it is okay (and
when it is decidedly NOT okay) to be a smartass, per class
experiences with Dr. Craig Watson.
My appreciation for poetry and
literature as an art form is amazing, and entirely due to
the English department here, but mostly the British Survey
courses. Interpreting, understanding, and -- most
importantly -- appreciating poems is a priceless gift.
Really, a $20,200 gift, but who's counting, right?
I have learned that Chaucer is not my
friend and not to go into Kevin Roberts' office unless
you're prepared for Hitchcock-mania.
From Dr. Bruce,
I have learned about how my passion for writing and
literature would make me a great English major. Without her
efforts, I would still be a lowly Communication major.
From Dr. Belschner, I have learned
the intricacies of Shakespeare and other Early-Middle
English literature. Although, in spite of her best efforts,
I still despise Chaucer. I do, however, have a much more well-rounded
appreciation of the works of Shakespeare.
From Dr. Watson, I have learned
that eloquence, poise, high intelligence, and a stylish
bearskin rug maketh the man...
From Dr. Hale, I have learned that
practice, patience, and numerous revisions pay off in the
long run. I have learned about those crazy, repressed
Victorians and the genius of Oscar Wilde somewhere along the
line. I have also learned more than I ever wanted to know
about sheep from this man. Oh, and I still think Wordsworth
is overrated. Give me Coleridge any day.
From Dr. Willhardt, I have learned
that there is someone even more knowledgeable and passionate
about pop music, film, and literature than I. Although this
is a frightening, even horrific prospect for some to deal
with, it has led to some interesting conversations. I have
also accumulated a sharp increase in personal confidence and
faith in myself because of him as well. Most importantly, I
have learned that even those with a gaudy sense of fashion
can somehow be qualified to teach at a liberal arts
I have learned that
everything has a purpose and a meaning. It's amazing how
philosophical that sounds, right? Explanation:
for my first two and a half years as an English major, I
would whole heartedly debate that everything had to
have a symbolic meaning in a piece of literature. I
refused to believe that the cat was purple for any other
reason than its being a purple cat!! I can't quite
tell you whether it was the excellent educational
direction that I received from English faculty, the English fairy
God-mother who tapped me on the head as I slept one night
with her "anthology wand," or if it was just my giving up
the fight that led me where I am now. One day,
however, everything seemed to make
sense and fall into place and I realized that nothing in literature is done
without intention. The "Signs and Symbols" are
all over the place and because of this bit of academic
insight I do not think that I will ever be able to read any
piece of literature for pure enjoyment without critically
analyzing it in the process. But this is a good
thing, or so they say...
The Cultural Events
Calendar is a monthly update on the special
activities going on at Monmouth College and
other campuses such as Western, Knox, and
|Monday - Thursday 3:00-5:00 pm
||Sunday - Thursday 7:00-10:00 pm
||Monday - Thursday 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Thursday 7:00 - 9:00 pm
||Monday and Thursday
7:00 - 8:00 pm
||Tuesday and Wednesday 7:00 -
||Tuesday and Thursday 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Thursday 6:00 -
3:00 - 5:00 pm
4:00 - 5:00 pm
By appointment Only
(3rd Floor of Wallace Hall)
Photograph courtesy of Ryne Tate, 2005
Taking some time out to study, Jerry Campion leans
against the counter of The Grounds. The Grounds is
a place where students come to drink free coffee, tea,
or hot chocolate. The Grounds often books musical
groups for free concerts, but there is always an open
mic standing. Located in The Underground, The
Grounds is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00pm until
Photograph courtesy of Jaime Calder, 2005
Lindsey Markel and Brian Wilcoxon, collectively known as
"Baez," perform at The Grounds during a free concert.