Critical Linking: May 18, 2013

I thought I’d take a look at the SAT Subject Test in literature as a mini case study. I chose the Literature test because it’s a subject I’m supposed to know something about. After all, I have a B.A. and a PhD in English. I have spent the last 25 years thinking about, writing about, talking about, and teaching literature. A one-hour subject test designed to test high school students on their reading comprehension should be a cakewalk.

Well, I was wrong. Or, at least, the high number of incorrect answers on my answer sheet suggested that someone or something was wrong.

Of course she didn’t do well.  She was taught how to think, not how to take a test.


Qworty has destructively edited the pages of other writers. He has made numerous edits to his own page while obsessively hiding his true identity. And yet there have never been any significant consequences for his actions. For those of us who love Wikipedia, the ramifications of the Qworty saga are not comforting: If Qworty has been allowed to run free for so long — sabotaging the “truth” however he sees fit, writing his own postmodern novel — how many others are also creating spiteful havoc under the hood, where no one is watching? 

And this is why English teachers everywhere tell their students that Wikipedia is not a valid source for their research papers.


Do women writers get asked this more than male ones? Bet your buttons they do. The snaps and snails and puppy-dog’s tails are great for boys. The sugar and spice is still expected for girls. Up to a point.

No one is better than Atwood at a snappy comeback.


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