Memoirs Of A Grader

, , , | Learning | September 21, 2017

(I am in a creative writing course. Our teacher gives us an assignment for which we must write about a profound change that occurs to a character in one of our favourite books. Basically, it has to be a life-changing event for the character, and has to directly cause their main journey in the book. We also have to use quotes that prove this point. I choose my favourite novel, “Memoirs of a Geisha.” I write about how the life-changing event for the character is having a man come into her life, early on in the novel, and take her away from her fishing village to where she becomes a geisha. The main character literally talks about how this change affects her life, and how she wouldn’t be a geisha if this hadn’t happened. I include that quote, confident I will receive a high mark, and am shocked when I only get a C.)

Me: “I don’t understand why I got this mark. You wrote that this couldn’t be ‘the life-changing event of the novel.’ Why?”

Teacher: “That quote you included happened on the first page of the book. A life-changing event can’t happen that early on.”

Me: “…you mean the quote where she says, ‘my life was forever changed by this man’?”

Teacher: “If that’s the quote that you said happened on page one, then yes. See, the event has to happen later on in the novel, and has to completely change the main character’s life.”

Me: “…the main character is literally saying this IS the life-changing event for her with that quote. It couldn’t be any clearer. Yes, she says that on page one, but it’s to foreshadow what happens later on in the book. The book is called Memoirs of a Geisha; if this event I’m talking about didn’t take place, she would have never become a geisha. There wouldn’t even be a book.”

Teacher: “It’s still too early in the book. The event shouldn’t happen on the first page.”

Me: “It doesn’t! Didn’t you read further on and see where I got the other quotes? The meeting between her and the man doesn’t happen until later. I just included that quote from the first page because she is saying the experience was life-changing.”

Teacher: “Well, there must be something else that happens further along in the book that’s more important. It can’t take place on the first page.”

(She refused to change my mark because I used a quote from the first page. I never saw her again after I finished the course, and I really want to meet her again so I can shove my English degree in her face.)

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