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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

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 evolved into 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 for 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.

             Why We Study English

             by Stevie Croisant

I remember sitting in Mr. Keener’s World Literature class my senior year of high school thinking about graduation and waiting to begin my life officially as an English major. I would have never guessed that a year and half later just the sight of my English books would bring a look of pain to my face. Granted, it is finals week. Actually, I’m pretty sure I enjoyed my survey classes, and any other time I noticed those books, I did not have any odd looks on my face. It is rough at the end of the year though. Not only am I going crazy from all the stress of writing papers and staying in the library until I get kicked out at midnight, but all my friends are going crazy too. All we can think about is going home, eating lots of home-cooked meals, and unwrapping Christmas gifts (preferably cards with lots of money in them).

However, wanting to leave for Christmas break is not the focus of what appears to be a rant. My focus: telling you all about the thing we love so much. English.

Well first of all, what is it like being an English major? We all know the drill. You come home for holidays and your relatives always ask what you are majoring in at college. As soon as you say English, you get one of two responses. The first being, “Well what do you plan on doing with that?” and the second being, “Well, my son is going to be a doctor. He will get a job right away.” And honestly, those responses are horribly annoying. Little do our relatives know that, according to, the average English major has a salary of approximately $93,000 per year. Granted the average doctor makes about $360,000 per year, but $93,000 a year is still enough to get me that convertible I’ve been eyeing…

So the students who dwell in HT might end up making more than us one day, but we do have an advantage over them. What happens if you’re a doctor and you just happen to have a different opinion than the doctor who is operating next to you? Well, that is probably one of the reasons they have anesthesiologists- to black out the patients so they can’t hear the doctors arguing while there’s still a scalpel in their hands. That’s the thing- doctors absolutely cannot be wrong. One mistake and someone dies or someone almost dies, and then there is a huge lawsuit on their hands.

What happens then if an English major disagrees with a fellow English major? Exactly. We get hypotheses and theories about absolutely everything. Nothing (besides a few grammar rules) is exact in English. We get to set up our own opinions and back them up with evidence that we interpret ourselves. Despite all our arguing, it all comes down to a matter of opinion. We only need to know how to support those opinions, and then no one can tear them down. Others can disagree, but perspectives are always changing. A paper that was deemed truth fifty years ago may have already been picked apart. Everything is called into question. No one has to be right. You don’t have to agree with anyone. We study a major that is always transforming and always progressing.

Never forget that you’re an English major. You may have taken up this major because you enjoy reading or writing. English isn’t just reading and writing. It’s analyzing. As soon as you learn to master that skill, then you will always be an apple seed. In my honors class, Professor Watson taught us to become a bee and not a spider (you can ask him about that if you want to know more), but frankly, I don’t like bugs, so I made up my own words of wisdom. Be an apple seed. In an apple, there are usually less than ten seeds. Seeds are rare. The whole apple is surrounded by the flesh of the apple. Just as there are very few seeds in comparison with the flesh, there are very few people who have the genius that only an English major can learn. The flesh of the apple is more common and only good for consumption. No one can gain anything from just the flesh alone. Be smart, be analytical, broaden your knowledge, and be a seed so you can grow your own tree of knowledge.

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

by Alex Nall

Earlier this year I wrote about my experiences on the ACM Florence/London Program. I had only great things to say about the program and the countries I toured while studying abroad. I am currently participating in another “study-abroad” program (although, compared to my last adventure overseas, the term “study-abroad” really holds no meaning here). The ACM Chicago Program—like the Florence/London, or any ACM Program for that matter—allows students at Monmouth College to get out of the closed-off social bubble they have lived in and explore the world and invest in different cultures. Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, population-wise. Everything from the people, the culture, the diverse neighborhoods, language and never-ending list of weekend activities, Chicago is the perfect place for students to look into as they consider their options after college. This is the secret that ACM does not advertise boldly in their pamphlets: these programs are designated not only to get you actively participating in a different culture (Yes, Chicago definitely has its own culture just like Florence, India or Botswana does) but more importantly, these programs orient students towards thinking about where they want to live, what field they want to study and the connections needed to get into that field after graduation.

One of the aspects that I’m really grateful that the program expects is a fulfilled internship with your site of choice. While taking classes and working on independent projects, students attend an internship site and work 9-5 hour workdays, gaining valuable experience for their futures every day. I work at Open Books, a literacy advocate and non-profit social venture that offers a variety of literacy-based programs to students in Elementary, Junior High and High School students in the city. I work as a Book Buddies Site Leader. I go to schools and together, with the help of committed volunteers, we help third-graders improve their vocabulary, comprehension skills and overall enthusiasm for reading. The job can sometimes be stressful, but the rewards are more impacting than I have ever felt in any other work environment. Unlike working at a grocery store where a transaction is made, this job has given me the satisfaction of becoming a role model and an educator to unprivileged youth. With only two and a half weeks left in the program, I have had time to reflect on what accomplishments I’ve made in the direction towards understanding what I’m going to do with my degree in English come May. Even if I do not decide to go into teaching, I have gained experience with kids and gotten a much better understanding of effective methods of teaching kids as well as the harsh reality of how hard it is to get some kids to pick up a book.

I did not go on the Chicago Program because I wanted to skip out on a semester of classes at Monmouth; I came on board this program because if I knew that if the Chicago Program was anything like the experience I had in Europe, I knew I would leave with just as much confidence and preparation for my future. Any one of these programs has opportunities available for students who have no clue what they want to do after college. Once again, all I can say to those students who are baffled as to what their next move in life is going to be, is to grab a hold of this opportunity while it is available to you and set out to discover what you really can handle. 



Survey Says:


What is a book on your winter break reading list?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I need to read it before it comes out in theaters!

- Stevie Croisant

Cathy Davidson’s new book Now You See It, and hopefully The Hunger Games, on Erika’s recommendation!

- Bridget Draxler




Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

-Brittany Van Duyne

The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova

- Mary Grzenia

There's a lot that I want to read over break, but one that I'm going to ensure gets read is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

-Leanna Waldron

Akata Witch
by Nedi Okorafor

-Erika Solberg

Adrienne Rich's Diving Into The Wreck

-Jackie Deskovich

Last Words
, an autobiography by George Carlin

-Alex Kane

by Suzanne Collins

Cassie Burton

Dreams from my Father
, by Barack Obama

-Chase Mowery

The Hunger Games

- Taylor Rubarts

Too many! Will I finally tackle 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace, 'David Copperfield' by Charles Dickens or 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez? ..... or maybe I'll be reading the entire Senior Sem. list... if Professor Hale gives it out in time!

-Alex Nall

Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel

-Will Terrill

One book on my winter break reading list is Pet Sematary by Stephen King. It's a really interesting and well written book so far. I've been told by multiple people that it is one of the scariest books that they've ever read, so I might only read it during the daytime.

-Katie Struck

I'd like to continue the Juliet Marillier series I've been reading with Heir to Sevenwaters. Maybe I'll get it for Christmas!

-Emily McClay


  • Enjoy your winter break and we'll see you next semester!


Leanna Waldron

Stevie Croisant

Katie Struck

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