Oct - 31 - 2011

The Dog Ate My Disk, And Other Tales Of Woe



>Paragraph 1: - Who do you imagine is the intended audience for this essay?

-What is the writer's purpose, do you think?

-What words can you use to describe the tone of the essay?

-Copy (write down) at least 3 specific phrases or sentences from the essay which reflect that tone.

>Paragraph 2: - What categories does Segal (the writer) create for the students' excuses?

-Do the stories/excuses (given by her students) within each category seem believable to you? Why/Why not?

-Make a few comments on your own reaction to the essay.

-Comment on whether or not you would recommend the essay for others to read, and why/why not.

I feel as if the essay "The Dog Ate My Disk, and Other Tales of Woe" is intended for an audience of students and professors. Both parties can relate to the topic of the essay and take something from it. I also feel that the writers' purpose with this essay is to show how far many students will go with the excuses they make up for late and/or miss papers. Showing these excuses in a humorous manner reveals that Professor Segal does not take the excuses serious at all, and manages to laugh at some of the stories she is told. The humor she finds in these stories compliments the light-hearted, comical tone of the essay. The essay can also be described as having a sardonic tone. I first noticed a sardonic tone in the essay in paragraph two through a rhetorical question that reads, "What heartless teacher would dare to question a student's grief or veracity?". The most apparent tone of the essay, comical, is also revealed in paragraph two when Segal states that "The death of the grandfather/grandmother is, of course, the grandmother of all excuses.". Segal talks about a serious topic, lying, in the essay while keeping a light-hearted tone. By opening the essay with a humorous image for the reader. This example reads, "Taped to the door of my office is a cartoon that features a cat explaining to his feline teacher,"The dog ate my homework." These three tones are revealed in the first two paragraphs and stay apparent throughout the rest of the essay.

Segal creates five categories for the excuses she recieves from students. These categories are 'The Family', 'The Best Friend', 'The Evils of Dorm Life', 'The Evils of Technology', and 'The Totally Bizarre'. Segal uses the stories within each category to creatively display the fact that all excuses begin to sound very much alike, and even more unbelievable the more of them that she hears. Some of the stories told by Segals' former students are obviously lies. Segal tells a story where a student is supposedly cut by her neighbor's chainsaw because it flew across the yard and hit her hand. Because of the fact that a chainsaw does not have a saw to fly off and make the student a victim, and also the observation by Segal that the student showed up to class with a bandage on the opposite hand of the one she claimed had been hurt, it is obvious this student is lying. Some of the excuses made up by the students are perfectly normal excuses, but, because of the students past performance and showing that they are not consistent at all it becomes harder to believe the plausible story presented. After reading the essay I began to think that teachers are not as naive as we students may think they are. I am also surprised at the amount of effort some students will put towards making excuses for not doing their homework instead of just doing the assignment in the first place. I like the angle Segal used to tell the audience that the excuses students make up sound insane at times. I would rather take a zero on a paper without giving excuses and embarassing myself. I would reccomend this story for other students to read to maybe open thier eyes to how they can sound and also encourage them to think twice before making up a rediculous story to cover up thier laziness. I would reccomend the essay for other professors simply because they would be able to relate to the point of view and also see the humor in the students' stories.


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