Saturday, April 23, 2005

And Your Starter For Ten

And Your Starter For Ten

Sitting near the open door of the dining hall, with the breeze wafting through, I opened the exam paper. I scan read it, stopping at the sections where I hoped to find a question suitable for all those quotes that I'd been reciting in the shower. And, when I'd read the questions that were directed towards the authors that I wanted to write about, I got that thrill that always shadows exams.

Shit.

What on earth was I going to write about?

It wasn't even obvious which questions I was going to have to answer. There was nothing that shouted "oh-look-at-me-I'm-your-shining-route-to-a-first"; at this point I'd even have taken "I-might-not-be-incredibly-shiny- but-I'm-a-low-2:1-and-that's-not-bad".

Faced with such a dilema there was only one thing that could happen. The adrenalin kicked in. And given that I have never panicked in an exam in my life, I didn't intend to start panicking in the dining hall over an exam which counts for nothing more than my getting to have an easy/less-humiliating half an hour when I go and discuss the results with Tony. So, armed with my shower honed knowledge, I began to blag. And the good thing about blagging literature essays is that once I start my mind tends to push me in other directions. By the time that I was halfway through the somewhat tortuous opening paragraph of my Swift essay I had the rest of that essay in my head. And by the time that I was on the conclusion to Swift I knew what I was writing for my Marvell essay.

The only downside was that, just after starting my Aphra Behn essay, the adrenalin cut out. And without any prior warning I should add. My brain was telling me that this was an exam that counted for precisely nothing. Why should I expend worring amounts of energy blagging my way through it? I kind of agreed. Internal broadband switched off, my brain's google machine slowed down. And I spent the last twenty minutes of the exam writing at a fairly sedate rate.

However grumpy I've been about this exam and the fact that it has screwed up my revision schedule*, it was kind of heartening to realise that, having not done an exam in such a manner since June 2002, I soon settled back into the blagging element. That I can still deal with being faced with a paper where it's not obvious what I'm going to write about. And given that I've seven papers to do, there's bound to be one stinker in there.

Just next time I'm rather hoping that I don't have to blag my way through an essay on Swift's use of personae when I cannot remember any of the names, other than Gulliver and Drapier, which he uses**.

*It is not a wise move at the moment to do that.

**The irony here? I came and looked up 'A Modest Proposal' and 'A Tale of a Tub' afterwards to discover that neither narrator is named. So I'd been worrying about refering to them a 'the narrator' instead of by name when I needn't have. Bah
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