sometimes, I wonder

So, I’m teaching my first fully online class, and despite my misgivings, it actually turned out okay.  Best part?  Not having to get dressed to ‘meet’ with students.  But then there’s things like this…

The assignment?  To read a longer primary source and write a 4-5 page paper on how this source fits into the larger picture of US history.  Several people read autobiographical material and ended up writing me a book report, and some folks made it a bit short, or their grammar needed some love, but overall, it was your typical spread of good papers, not so good papers, and then…a week late…I get this:

The Captivity Narrative of Mary Rowlandson is a great read about a mother held under the enforcement of Indians trying to regain power of their lands.  Mary tells her story on how she made it through these traitorous doings of the Indians and what she witnessed along the way.   What I can argue is that when the English came into their lands they shouldn’t have forced them into the English way; they wouldn’t have taken the action that they did against them.  Without forcing the Indians they wouldn’t have turned against the English and gone to war.
Mary started as a free woman and then was taken into captivity under Indians control.  They came into the town with guns blazing and setting houses and buildings on fire.  Going through the town, Indians would either take families or “knock them on the head,” kill them, and then some were lucky to escape from the tragedy that was to come.   Mary witnessed the takeover of her home and town, watching men beg for their lives and women and children crying out for help to get out of the fire.  The one that Mary would turn to is the Lord and her verses from the bible.  Her life changed in an instant; and she knew it wasn’t going to be the same again.
She talks how and what the Indians did to her fellow friends and relatives; stripping them down, carving their insides and basically torturing the ones they held captive.  The cruelty was so horrible but when looking at what the English had done to the Indians it was a way of them getting back at the New Settlers, English.  They English men and women that came in after the discovery of the new lands took over the land from their fellow Natives, which caused controversy.   The natives were unhappy with what was happening to their lands and crops; then some were forced into Christianity.  Most of the natives’ lives were changed and while some accepted the new ways and others did not.
Their way of retaliating was to create a war with the English and take all that they could from them; making them suffer the way they made them suffer.  The ones that the Indians took into captivity were treated so cruelly while they traveled with them.  Mary had walked bare foot through this traveling, while her wounded sick baby was on horseback with one of the Indians.    She took her baby and walked with her as long as she could till she fell because of being so weak and they allowed her to ride horseback with her baby in her arms.  For an example the English are firm believers in Christianity.  Mary would tell herself that the only one she has left was God and he was going to be there with her to stay strong the whole way and make it through this terrible time.
When being brought up in the English life they live for God and their most dominate religion was Christianity.  She found a way to get a hold of a bible, so Mary turned to it to keep going on this journey.  The scriptures she would read would lift her spirits up and her beliefs in God were going to get her to get through.
These whites that were taken were forced into slavery and getting sold off to other tribes. They were treated just like the white English society treated the natives in their towns and society.

This was the paper, in its entirety.  Despite emails asking about it, despite an example, despite a rough draft that was three limes longer.  I’m not trying to be mean here, but really?  After all that work on my part, and your peer editor’s part, and heck, your part, you chose to call this a paper?  There’s no thesis, no conclusion, no …well, let’s call it what it is, and say it’s a test essay answer.  Because it certainly isn’t a paper.

*headdesk* anyone?

Published in: on July 31, 2010 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment