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  The Printing Press is the English Department Newsletter. Its purpose it to inform major and minors about programs and activities within the department. The Press will inform readers of activities and opportunities outside of Monmouth College. For any questions or submissions, contact, or

In This Issue

  • Elementary, My Dear Reader: Sherlock Holmes in Literature and Film

    • By: Katie Struck

  • Why We Study English

    • By: Stevie Croisant

  • The Best Thing I Ever Did for my Education was Leave Monmouth for a Year

    • By: Alex Nall

  • Survey Says

  • Announcements

Elementary, My Dear Reader: Sherlock Holmes in Literature and Film

 by Katie Struck

            Intelligence is the most attractive quality that a person can possess. People that think critically and use their knowledge to better the world outlast those who only rely on outer appearances or superficial qualities. Sherlock Holmes is one of those iconic characters that shows what some critical thought and reasoning can accomplish. In fact, he’s such an iconic character that other popular characters in pop culture have been based on him such as The Doctor from Doctor Who, Shawn from Psych, and Dr. House from House. There will also be a second Sherlock Holmes movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, coming out on December 16th, 2012 which is the sequel to Sherlock Holmes. In anticipation of this mystery action flick, enjoy my thoughts on how the classic Sherlock Holmes character from Doyle’s short stories to the revamped movie character.

            Since Sherlock Holmes is an extremely intelligent man who rejects emotions, he does not make many close friends; however, the best friendship of Watson and Holmes in the both short and the movie is a very caring relationship built on mutual trust and respect. Holmes regularly asks for Watson’s thoughts on clues and encourages Watson when he says that there is no way he could infer information like Holmes does. Also, they call each other “brother” and “my dear fellow” showing that they are more than just friends; they’re family. While both men seem to live separate but connected lives in the short stories, Holmes seems less willing to part with Watson in the movie. He even bribes a fortune teller to tell Watson that his marriage to Mary will be filled with horrific doilies, warts, and figurines. Watson expresses his annoyance at Holmes’ immaturity, but still follows Holmes to the slaughterhouse to help him. In the end, both men would be there for each other when it is important even if it means risking their lives for each other.

            Sherlock Holmes is a man who uses his wit and intelligence as weapons to catch criminals and solve mysteries; as a private consultant, Holmes sees his fair share of violence. In the short stories, Holmes encourages Watson to bring his army pistol with him when they run into trouble, but Holmes does not really rely on weapons. He can knock a gun out of someone’s hand if he needs to, but he’s not a physical fighter. He fights people with logic. On the other hand, Holmes in the movie seems to revel in his martial arts skills. In one of the beginning clips of the movie, Holmes immobilizes three characters through sequentially plotting how to injure them in the fastest, most effective way possible. He also ends up beating people with police sticks and boxing for money. This decision by filmmakers may have been an attempt to make a heavily intellectual character more traditionally tough and violent. While I love a well-choreographed fight scene every now and then, the movie may have been more palatable to me without turning one of my favorite characters into just another action hero.

            One quirk that Sherlock Holmes is famous is focusing on the small details and his logic to solve large mysteries. In the short stories, he constantly surprises strangers by knowing details about them that they thought would not be obvious through Holmes’ powers of observation and deduction. He knows where people have travelled from the mud splatters on their clothes. He theorizes about suspect’s marriage satisfaction from whether their clothes seem clean or not. Finally, he sees a person’s class status in their handwriting. This quirk of Sherlock Holmes’ translates well from books to the movie. There is a scene where Holmes, Watson, and Watson’s fiancé are at a restaurant and Watson’s fiancé questions whether Holmes can really learn that much about a stranger from small, observable details. Holmes then proceeds to deduce that Watson’s fiancé is a governess with a tall pupil who flicked ink at her. Also, he correctly stated that her pupil’s mother lent her a ruby and diamond necklace to wear because of her son’s behavior. He only made a mistake when he incorrectly assumed that she had left her previous fiancé when in reality her previous fiancé had died. It’s somewhat comforting that even a great mind like Sherlock Holmes can make large errors of judgment.

            Although I prefer the traditional Sherlock Holmes character, I do have a fondness for his modern reincarnations. In Doctor Who, I see the Doctor’s heightened intelligence in solving problems and his concern for his companions as reflective as Holmes’s wide range of knowledge and his concern for Watson. I can watch Psych and laugh at Shawn’s attempts to dramatically disguise observational skills as psychic powers. In House, I can revel in the strange seemingly unexplainable symptoms and diseases of patients the Dr. House has to decide how to treat. Finally, I look forward to seeing Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in theaters and seeing the continued celebration of logic and reasoning.

             SOfIA Group Creates Online Writing Resource

             by Stevie Croisant

On the first day of August, four English students willingly gave up an extra twenty days of their summer in order to participate in Monmouth College’s SOFIA program. This year, Professor Rob Hale came up with the idea to have his SOFIA students design a website about the process of writing a literary analysis paper.

Seniors Leanna Waldron and Mary Grzenia along with freshmen Cassie Burton and Carli Alvarado participated in the SOFIA program. The four women worked on starting up, which included writing their own literary analysis papers.

“[The project] was more rigorous than I expected,” said Burton. Burton, who had no idea what to expect about the SOFIA program early in the summer, was surprised by the workload the project required of her especially since she had to shift her focus from high school writing to college writing.

Professor Hale gave each student four pieces of literature to read including, To Kill a Mockingbird, “Story of an Hour,” “Harlem,” and “Trifles.” After reading the assigned pieces, Burton and Alvarado were asked to interview high school teachers and peers about their experiences on writing literary analyses.

Alvarado, who is not actually an English major, was hesitant about participating in the SOFIA project, but soon felt comfortable after she learned what she was going to do.

“As soon as I found out I had to do a website, I was very excited,” said Alvarado.

The project began with the students comparing the interview results, focusing on trends in answers and recognizing the issues they were going to address. The seniors who were focusing on perfecting their writing skills were also able to act as mentors to the freshmen.

“The seniors told me about a lot of resources,” said Alvarado. “They explained how to navigate the websites here. They also have been writing a lot longer than me, so it was nice to have them critique my papers.”

The writing process soon began with journal entries, pre-writing, and drafting happening from all four of the SOFIA participants. Each participant took a different story to write their own 3-5 page literary analysis.

“It was different to actually come here and get feedback from college seniors and a professor,” said Burton. “I feel like I got a head start on school.”

The four students also presented the website during the second week of SOFIA to the students in other disciplinary areas in order to get feedback.

“A lot of faculty and students were impressed,” said Grzenia. “No matter if you’re an English or a science major, you still have to write papers.”

The website, known as STEPS (Students Teaching English Paper Strategies), includes each student's own writing process, from their notes to their drafts and thesis development. The website also features a glossary and quotes from the SOFIA participants regarding their thoughts about the writing process.

“The hardest part was making the website from the perspective of an incoming student, and after gaining three years of experience, it’s hard to go back,” said Grzenia. “The freshmen really came up with a lot of great ideas for that.”

The website, though it looks finished, is still underway. Grzenia, is completing the website this semester under an internship from Professor Hale.

“I like the idea of creating a site that will actually help people,” said Grzenia. “Hale offered me the opportunity to clean up the site’s errors, make sure the archive section is uniformed, and finish the glossary of literary terms.”

Grzenia mentioned that she and the other participants will be involved in a telephone conference with other colleges in early November in order to promote the site. The website is still in a beta stage and will be completed, hopefully, by the end of the semester. The women also hope to spread the word to other Monmouth College students about their website.

“You can hear the student voice in the website,” said Grzenia. “It’s not a professor’s work. This project was fun, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.”

The Boy Who Lived: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Book vs Movie

Spoiler Alert!

by Katie Struck

I grew up falling in love with Neville Longbottom, delighting in the pranks of Fred and George Weasley, and dreaming of receiving my acceptance letter from Hogwarts. From the first chapter of the first book, I knew that I had to find out what happened to the hero in the cupboard under the stairs (Even if it involved hiding my library copy of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire under my bed so that my mom wouldn’t know I was reading a book where someone gets killed in the end). I was excited to see the movies when they came out, but at the same time, I was irked when I felt like the movies failed to live up to the legacy of the novels. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was broken up into two movies, the last of which came out this summer. While I enjoyed both the movies and reading the book, I found the book more enjoyable.

While some of the special effects in the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter and deathly hallows Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow part.1 movies--the knights of Hogwarts coming to life as a defense measure, Neville and Seamus blowing up the bridge, and the Shadow puppet retelling of the three brothers story--were fantastic effects, the movies missed out on the complex and descriptive details that wove the story together. For instance, Ron’s leaving the encampment of Harry and Hermione, while still devastating to any Ron and Hermione fan, was made less dramatic because the details of the setting (the rain storm) were not included.  Also, Fred’s death in the final movie would have been more shocking if, like in the book, it had been preceded by Percy reuniting with the Weasley family. However, since the whole plotline of Percy turning away from the Weasley family and Harry in favor of power and respect in the Ministry of Magic was left out of the movies, this could not happen. The most aggravating loss in plot for me was the kiss between Ron and Hermione. In the film, it seemed like just a build up after destroying a Horcrux, rather than Hermione not being able to stop herself from kissing Ron when he suggests that they check on the safety of the house elves that Hermione had so desperately tried to set free with poorly knitted hats.

The focus of the Deathly Hallows movie, like many of the other Harry Potter movies, was Harry; however, the character development of other central characters was much more apparent in the books. For instance, Neville, as one of my favorite characters, is consistently caring and courageous from when he stands up to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to when he destroys the last Horcux with the sword of Godric Gryffindor. In the Deathly Hallows movie, his killing of the snake, Voldemort's final horcrux, is less impressive as he does it only after waking up from being knocked unconscious and after Ron and Hermione try and fail to kill the snake. Another important character that fails to be developed because of the film's focus on Harry is Hermione Granger. In the books, there is an emphasis on Hermione not only being the brightest witch of her age but also a caring activist for house elf rights and the rights of any mistreated creature. While Deathly Hallows did show some of Hermione’s magical talents through her casting of the undetectable extension charm on her purse and all the protective spells on the camp, the compassionate human side of this strong female role model was sorely lacking.

While I prefer the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book to the movie, I will severely miss the series. Where else can a battle between good and evil be played out so fascinatingly for all ages as between Lord Voldemort, the ultimate cruel and heartless Hitler inspired killer, and Harry Potter, the self-sacrificing school boy who survived an attack on his family only to return stronger? What other series has grown with me from grade school to college with characters that became my friends, heroes, and mentors? I know that what Sirius Black said to Harry Potter before Harry sacrificed himself in temporary death to Voldemort holds true for the way the characters of the Harry Potter series will stick with me: “‘We are a part of you’ said Sirius, ‘Invisible to anyone else’” (700).



Survey Says:

What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?



Prospero’s Books/ The Tempest

- Marlo Belschner




No Country For Old Men

- Dan Pitts




My favorite book to movie adaptation is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Album. The visual interpretations of the character and setting descriptions of the book fit perfectly with what I pictured when I first read it. Also, it follows the plot line of the book very well. The movie and book made me laugh and cry and continue to do so every time I read or watch it.

-Katie Struck

Lord of the Rings. I don’t think is really a question that needs asking, is it? Lord of the Rings. My precious.

-Robert Cook




Though I have a deep love for many of the movies and novels that are already on this list, one that wasn't mentioned that I absolutely love is American Psycho. I think the film (and particularly Christian Bale's performance) perfectly captures the dark humor and wonderfully depraved and creepy nature of Patrick Bateman.

-Leanna Waldron



I really loved what Terry Zwigoff did with Daniel Clowes' poignant graphic novel 'Ghost World'. The film is a very loose adaptation of the book and it is better because of it. While the book reminds you of the strain high-school friendships can be, the movie is brutally honest about a wide range of topics from friendship, sex, art appreciation and honesty. Both are well worth the time to read and watch.

-Alex Nall

This one's easy: Andre Dubus's "Killings" adapted into In The Bedroom.

-Erika Solberg

David Fincher's cult classic Fight Club (1999), adapted from the even better novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk.

-Alex Kane

Friday Night Lights; my emotional reaction to the movie is so intense that I don't even worry about how drastically they changed it from the book.

-Jackie Deskovich

A great book-to-movie is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Though the book is still better than the movie, director Stanley Kubrick rewards the reader through an absence of dialogue. Without reading Clarke’s book prior to viewing the film, it is hard to tell what in the hell is going on in the movie. The book gives depth and political context to space travel, as well as mystifies. The movie is more of a strange trip; I use that as a pun.

-Ryan Bronaugh

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on
National Themes
by Tony Kushner

-Suzanne Barber

Definitely, The French Lieutenant’s Woman

-Rob Hale

A Clockwork Orange

-Mark Willhardt

Probably Holes by Louis Sachar. It's definitely the most accurate movie adaptation I've seen.

-Cassie Burton

Mine would be To Kill a Mockingbird.  Though taking liberties with the novel, the movie really brings to life the characters.

-Kevin Roberts

Harry Potter, obviously.

-Rissa Inman


  • Don't forget about the Writing Center when you're working on those troublesome papers! Located on the third floor of the Mellinger Learning Center, tutors are available Monday -Thursday 3-5pm and Sunday - Thursday 7-10pm!

  • Good luck to everyone on your midterms and enjoy Fall Break!


Leanna Waldron

Stevie Croisant

Katie Struck

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