Well, good for your professors then.
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Messages - mzing12
I'm comparing my own exam to the professor's model exam, and it seems like I got a B- because I focused too tightly on single ideas, and the professor's model answer was like ... a mish mash of everything we did, whether it applied directly to the question or could be considered through reasoning; he wanted it all, and I failed to provide it. Blah blah blah, career screwed.
And we're not talking sentence style for the dingwad above complaining about panopticans, whatever those are. English appreciates creativity in structure, and legal writing is short short short sentences. Fair enough, but I'm talking methods of approaching problems. English trains you to narrow in on and focus on a single idea very tightly, it's almost like dogma ... I heard it in every class; law exams seem to be more about throwing in everything possible so you can get the "check" for points.
For English essays you develop a very sharp, very narrowly defined thesis, and you argue it to an end where you say: this a/the way to interpret this work. In law school, apparently it's about obfuscating the issue so that it becomes mush. In English you argue a narrowly defined idea to a clearcut and easy-to-understand conclusion.
In my professor's sample answers it looks like he brought in a million things talked about in class, and even if they're only marginally related to the question, that's where most of the points came from ... considering everything and coming to a "" conclusion. In English you don't do that; you consider what you narrowly defined, only the details related to that narrow definition, and you argue it to a very fine and narrow end. It's much cleaner and easier than law essays.
What was drilled into my head over 4 years was: the more narrow and well defined your idea, the better. This is a death sentence for law school.
There are the "other potentials" in law school exams that you're supposed to consider, but for English lit. nothing is really -known- so to speak, so there are an infinite number of "potential other sides" for you to argue, which is why you're not supposed to bother. It's an interpretive art that you're supposed to argue in a very clear, very simple, very singular fashion, and is the exact opposite of what you do for law school.
Word from another English major:
Personally I liked writing English papers a lot more than law exams! It was so easy to make a nice, clear paper based on a defined thesis.
In your thesis did you consider the 80,000 other arguments posited about the idea you were handling? Because that would've made for an interesting paper.
Bad arguments? Pick up any thesis from Harvard down ... it's the same thing. They teach you this stuff in courses only English majors can take, so chances are you were never exposed to it.
As in, with law school the point is "getting to maybe". With English you argue new points and say: this is the way it actually is. Then others try and debunk you.
Also, you need to ask for your money back on your English degree if you were taught to argue only one side.
As far as English goes, you don't argue "both sides" when you write a paper. When you're arguing how Chaucer uses a meta narrative technique originating in Silver Age Latin Literature transmitted through Boccaccio's Decameron, you investigate and explore your very fine point exclusively. You write a 20 page paper "making a case" for your ideas; you don't spend 4 pages considering other arguments. Haven't you ever read a thesis? You don't mumble through every option like a law school exam... English work is more like a laser beam.