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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







What Can You Do With an English Major?


Anne Stone

           Whenever I run into someone I know and they ask about school and my major, I am never surprised by the immediate question that follows my “English major” response: “So, are you going to teach?”  While I’m never offended by the question, it always makes me feel as if the walls around are closing in on me.  Is teaching, while a very respectable career, the only option for an English major?  The answer is an absolute relief to say the least.  There are endless possibilities for an English major.  Monmouth College may be a small, liberal arts school, but many MC English majors have gone on to do some amazing things.

            Dr. Marlo Belschner has been working hard to improve and update theDr. Marlo Belschner English Department website, and as part of these efforts, she contacted English alumni from the last fifty-seven years to see where their lives and MC diplomas had taken them.  She received several responses, and the span of careers is unbelievable.  The following are some direct excerpts that Dr. Belschner summarized from these responses and has posted in the “Alumni News” section of the Monmouth College Department of English website. 

Bradley Nahrstadt '89 attended the University of Illinois College of Law.  He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law with a juris doctorate degree in 1992.  Since 1992 he has worked for the litigation firm of Williams Montgomery & John in Chicago, Illinois, first as an associate and then as a partner.  His practice has concentrated on the defense of commercial, product liability and complex insurance law cases.  He explains that he has put the research and writing skills he learned as an English major to good use in the last fifteen years.  He has authored over three dozen articles that have appeared in some of the top legal journals in the country, and he has also written or co-written four course books used by the Institute for Paralegal Education and the National Business Institute as well as four chapters in books published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the Defense Research Institute.  Early this year he served as the general editor of the Illinois Product Liability Practice book published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.  In 2006 he was named one of the 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company.  Since 2002 he has served on the Monmouth College Board of Trustees.  He states, "I am married to a wonderful woman (who is also an attorney--at British Petroleum) and have two great kids, ages 12 and 10." 

Jeff Day '94 co-founded Shady Shakespeare Company ( after graduation and slowly began to do more and more theater.  He directed an original script at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and decided at that time to pursue an advanced degree in what he states has always been his deepest love.  He has also taken advanced creative writing classes at Stanford, focusing primarily on short fiction.  Jeff states, "Though I didn't take full advantage of my opportunities while at Monmouth, I nonetheless felt extremely prepared moving into the real world and the compliments I receive on my writing I attribute to the acute and solid guidance I received from Dr. Watson." He is currently enrolled in the MFA Directing program at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.

Patty (Wilson) McCoy '67 taught secondary English for five years after graduation, including two for the DOD (U.S. dependents) in Okinawa. After that, she had a career in property / casualty insurance claims. When she retired, she was a claim litigation specialist, a position she "loved and was able to achieve partly because of my English language skills, in this case the ability to communicate cogently, plainly and briefly(!) in an industry not particularly known for that!  But I could also read and decipher complex policy language -- most likely a result of my studies in Middle English literature." After her retirement, she has organized her graduating high school class including coordinating their 40th reunion and sending out a biannual newsletter.

Patty has had other adventures: "In the 80's, my husband and I built a schooner, on which we were going to sail away forever. We left in '87, traveled / lived (on the boat) down the west coasts of Mexico and Central America. Stopped in Panama in late '89 to work, make some money to head to the South Pacific. I worked for the Public Affairs office at the US Naval Station, writing award applications and -- a lot more fun -- columns about 'doings' at the station for the Tropic Times, the American language newspaper in 'the zone.' We were there for 'Operation Just Cause,' the American action that took out Noriega. That first night, Apache helicopters flew about only a hundred feet above our masts -- without lights. The second day, the Navy sent a truck to pick me up (we couldn't travel anywhere on our own,) to spend several days / nights at the Station riding herd on the media (a mind-boggling challenge).

She explains her happiest (academic) memories at Monmouth:  "The semester I spent studying Renaissance literature and history / working at the Newberry Library on the near north side in Chicago -- there were about 12 of us there, from various schools in the conference.... It was wonderful.  And on the same par: Adele Kennedy's senior poetry seminar (held in her home,) Jeremy McNamara's Shakespeare classes, Rev Weeks' comparative religion class, and Tom Fernandez's speech classes (I think I took every class he taught...)."

            These are just three examples of what Monmouth English majors have accomplished both in their personal and professional lives, and there are numerous other occupational paths for an English major to discover; the possibilities are endless.  Our alumni agree that reading and writing have helped them get where they are today, and it will surely assist them as their lives progress even further.  What can you do with an English major?  If you’re a Monmouth College graduate, the answer is simple: anything!

** While we’ll be highlighting alumni in every issue of The Printing Press, check it out for yourself at


An Examination of the Newly Available Literature Resource Center

Erik Davis

            The Literature Resource Center is an online database, containing many entries on almost every author you can think of.  It is a great place to find a comprehensive biography along with articles taken from various scholarly journals.  This is the database’s greatest strength. 

You can find a summative biography of an author including a look at many of the author’s works.  This would be very useful as pre-reading before you dive into the body of work of an author.  It is also a great place to check when doing research for a paper.  This website would allow you to get a good idea of the major events of the author’s life and how those events figure into his/her work.  Reading these biographies gives you insight into the works of an author that you otherwise might not have. 

The main weakness of this database is the search engine.  The default search is by author.  If you wanted to search by title you have to change this by following a few links.  It is not very hard to change, but even after you change the search engine to search by title it can sometimes be hard to find what you are looking for.  Trying to refine your search is especially tedious because the search engine resets itself to search by author after every query.  This can become annoying quite quickly.  Searching by author is much easier, but then you have to sort through every piece of work written about that author.  The author search is easy to use; if you were looking for information about William Blake for instance, you can enter “Blake, William” or “William Blake” and get the same results.  The database also has a “key word search” but I have been unable to get any searches to return results pertinent to my query.  So the “key word search” appears to be almost totally useless.  If you were doing a paper about the representation children in Wordsworth, you wouldn’t be able to search for “children and Wordsworth” and get articles discussing the topic.

The advanced search button allows you many different search options.  You can search and combine search terms in ways that are not available under the default searches the Literature Resource Center has to offer.  This option yields results about more specific searches.  These results are most often very useful and really do apply to the search you are making.  This database does not have the huge numbers of articles that MLA-IB has to draw upon.  So if you are searching for a topic that is somewhat obscure you may have trouble finding useful articles.  However, if you are looking for articles about a subject that has been explored fairly thoroughly you should be able to find a few useful articles with this search.  A good example would be the use of language in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”  This search is most useful in that it can cut through all the critical work that has been written about an author and get to only the works that pertain to your topic.

One final thing that is a neat feature of this database is a literature timeline.  Say you are reading Wordsworth’s “The Ruined Cottage” and you are wondering why the husband in this poem got a large monetary bonus when he enlisted in the military.  Using the timeline you could type in the date that this poem was written and see that during that time the Napoleonic Wars were going on.  This then provides an answer to your question.  However, without a specific idea or date in mind searching the timeline can become extremely tedious to look at since there are an almost overwhelming number of entries on the time line.  This is an interesting feature and can be useful; however, I have found that it is somewhat unwieldy.

This database contains fewer articles than MLA-IB or even JSTOR, but the articles it does have are lengthy articles that provide you truly useful information to use when writing a paper or just doing some pre-reading an author.  If you look at the journal articles for Blake, for instance, many of them focus on a specific work, this can be very good if your focus is on just one work (assuming that the work you are focusing on is one of the works that has an article written about it).  However, if you were doing a broader study using many different works you may only find articles pertaining to one or two of the works you writing about.  If you couldn’t tell from my examples I am taking Romantic Literature right now….

                                           Rob Hale

 You may be thinking, “Why should I trust this guy, he is only a lowly English major like me.”  Well you are probably right, but I did go to a professional and ask her for some input.  Lauren is a librarian here.  She helps students day in and day out find articles that they are looking for using databases like the Literature Resource Center.  She said that the Literature Resource Center is an excellent database to find introductory information about an author or a work.  It is a good starting point to “get your feet wet,” as Lauren put it, both in regards to using online databases and with regards to a specific author or work.

If you are looking for a summative overview of an author’s life and works and general trends that run through an author’s works, then this is a great place to look.  There are a few good articles about more specific topics, but this database does not have nearly as many entries to browse through as some of the other databases available.  The timeline can be fun and useful in a limited capacity.  However, if you are just trying to find a good scholarly source for a paper you may just want to stick to LION, JSTOR, and the good old MLA-IB.


Student Writing

What We Push Away

Kelsey Cole

Part 1

    It seems that hate is everywhere. It's in the spiteful gossip about a friend. It's in the self-justification to treat someone differently. It's in the vengeful drive to severely punish those who have committed wrong. It has been woven into our culture of Manifest Destiny and the American Dream to be rich, rich, RICH and leave no survivors during the journey there. We cannot escape this desire in our consumerist, capitalist economy where (presumably) only the high and mighty survive and the low and feeble get pissed on (trickle-down theory).

    But maybe the idea that money = happiness isn't all it's shaped up to be. Of course there have been many more intellectual people before me who have stated this, but I now feel like I truly understand and see its truth.

    On that drive to gain a "secure" amount of wealth, you leave behind other things--like family and honest communication. All those people at the top who participate in malicious competitive maneuvers to reach their high position of power lose sight of the love that holds people together. And in their mad rush, they've indirectly forced people into the same situation they are in:  working endless hours and spending time away from family and friends; except the people in poverty must work those long hours to provide basic necessities for their family, not to provide three cars for their son.

    People miraculously get enjoyment and fulfillment out of such hate, but it's an empty and hollow fulfillment; one that we seek to fill with selfish indulgence (food, sex, drugs, money). In this desire to be an independent individual (and fulfilling only my needs and my desires) we ignore our surroundings such as family, the youth, and the elderly. When we ignore these things, essentially we are ignoring ourselves because there is no such thing as the "independent individual" in human society. Everything we do has an effect on something else, whether we like it or not. Ultimately, we all join together to be one and when one part is ignored, like a part on a body, we cannot function to our fullest potential.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need to avoid this hate that, I believe, is creating such a depressive state of being in our society. If striving to get more money pushes us away from that which society and culture have always thrived on--family, community, communication--then we must reconsider our choices in alienating these essentials of life and these essentials that spawn love.

    It's a bit hard for me to talk about something that I'm so passionate in expressing to a computer screen. I would really appreciate feedback, because then I may be able to make my point clearer or stronger.


And What We Must Pull Back

Part 2

    Pretty shitty, huh? Everything seems so desolate and devoid of anything good in our society--when you only take in the bad. Like everything imaginable in our world, one side must have its opposite. To down, there is up. To negative, there is positive. To neglect, there is nurture. To hate, there is love.

    So, can something as simple as love be the answer? Could it possibly be that easy? It seems hokey and unreal, yes, I know. Yet, perhaps that perception has been created by the complicated tendency we give everything in our lives. Maybe it's because hypocrisy shrouds so much of what we do, that we further and further complicate things to justify our words and actions. Therefore, we cannot believe something simple could cure anything. I suppose the cliché "digging our own grave" could be applied here.

    Well, I guess we can look at history here. What famous leaders or people do we know of that incorporated hate into their cause? Adolf Hitler, Alexander the Great, Joseph McCarthy, Malcolm X... (uhhh, I'm no history major, so I may need a little help with this.)
    And what famous leaders do we know of that incorporated love into their cause? Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Princess Di, Mother Teresa...

    Given these names, who would you want to follow, or rather, who would you want to be? The people who led with hate ultimately fell because their hate was overpowered with logic, understanding, and love. They failed to accomplish what they sought out because their hate was destructive and eventually people refused to tolerate it. In the case of people who led with love that were dismissed by the public or fading from popular view, this could be explained by an impatience felt in people. They were not seeing immediate change (which war or money may provide) and so, therefore, could not tolerate the slow progress of what love-based movements result in. And, I understand that it's hard to wait for changes when hate is destroying you and the people around you. It's hard to address something like that. Especially being a sophomore in college who has never encountered deadly hostility. But, I hear these incredibly intellectual people promoting peace and the value of love and I think to myself, "It is possible."

    I've gotten fed up with being negative. I feel that building my attitude on love instead of hate is helping me see things much more clearly, in understanding people better, and, hopefully, helping others much more successfully. And, believe me, I still have a long long long way to go with my life's a start in the right direction.

    What do you think of the power of love? Is it legit or just another distraction from a real solution?


The Most Unfortunate Tragedy of Upright Iago

Ryan Gutierrez

I am what you might christen a high-minded man

As Othello as my beloved beholder I hold this to be true.

Iago the most noble, The Judas Kiss does not ship out from my lips.

My itty bitty pecker does not pan out like the peg on Pinocchio.

But Oh! My heart doth sometimes ache for more.

My mission in life is to live with the control of a Mitra.



…I, Iago who is misunderstood, I think you should know

The fish stories I tell are intended to ride on the shell of Venus.

Violently! My tales fail me and caused the death of the friend I call Cassio

Also that most robust, respectable and rich man Roderigo

Love for your Desdemona may come back to haunt you.



Survey Says

What is your favorite book and why?

Missy Metz- To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

"I like the style of the writing, and it was intriguing."


Elizabeth Towns-Law- Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

"I can really relate to the characters."


S. Haas- The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath

"I see the sickness in her (Sylvia Plath), but at the same time, I think every girl growing up has felt that overwhelmed."


Anne Stone- The Missing Piece

"Even though it's a children's poem, it still carries a great message about being satisfied with what you have."




Quotes on Reading

"Learn as much by writing as by reading."
- Lord Acton

"I've traveled the world twice over, 
Met the famous; saints and sinners, 
Poets and artists, kings and queens, 
Old stars and hopeful beginners, 
I've been where no-one's been before, 
Learned secrets from writers and cooks 
All with one library ticket 
To the wonderful world of books." 
- Anonymous

"When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature.  If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young."
- Maya Angelou



Writing Labs 3:00-5:00 pm Monday - Thursday
  7:00-10:00 pm Sunday - Thursday

Anne Stone

Erik Davis


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