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Assignment Questions

Analysis of The Loss of the Creature by Walker Percy

In “The Loss of the Creature,” Walker Percy writes:
The Educator whose business it is to teach students biology or poetry is unaware of a whole ensemble of relations which exist between the student and the dogfish and between the student and the Shakespeare sonnet. To put it bluntly: A student who has a desire to get at a dogfish or a Shakepeare sonnet may have the greatest difficulty in salvaging the creature from the educational package in which it is presented.

For this assignment, I would like you to look at last semester (it could also be last year or the most recent time you were in school or taking a class). Choose one class and observe its goings on as Percy might. Tell us about this class (do not mention any instructors’ names). What methods are used to teach and learn this subject? What effect do these methods have on the way students speak and listen, act and react in class? What “packages” are placed in front of you as student? What are the “ensemble of relations” that your professor or teacher is unaware of? Use terms from Percy‘s essay to help you explain what is going on and what is significant about what you observe.

The imagine how you might recover the creature. What alternatives are available? Use whatever methods you like for this part of the essay. You might, for example, imagine alternative classroom discussion, or use music, art, or poetry to pull the creature from its concealment. This sept is similar to Percy placing sonnets in biology and dogfish in English. As with Percy‘s examples, your examples may not bet (perhaps should not be) something you’d really expect to find in a classroom. Be creative in your ways of recovering the creature.

If it is easier for you to think in terms of comparing one class to another (a class in which the creature is concealed to a class where the creature is being struggled for) you may approach the essay from this angle. This would involve explaining the educational packaging that hinders learning in one class and then explaining the methods for recovery in the other. I’m intersed in your ideas. Use quotations from Percy as examples of your point(s) and acknowledge those quotation in MLA format.

If you need a copy of the essay, which titled “The Loss of the Creature” please let me know and I’ll send it over. Keep in mind that this is for critical thinking and analitical. You can contact me by email tkvhphan@yahoo.com or phone 818-325-5374.

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