Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Non-Fictional Prose Course

platano's picture

This Is Just To Say

This Is Just To Say

William Carlos Williams

I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold

I really enjoy this poem. I was never much of a fan of poems but this one really stuck with me. This should have been an apology note but there is not sense of regret on the part of the speaker. The fact that the speaker is dwelling on the satisfaction seeps out towards me, and I am in turn feeling satisfied as well.

platano's picture

Looking Back

As I was reading Coles' chapter titled "Looking Back," I realized that I had been doing the same thing when I wrote about my relationship to religion. On page 174 Coles' speaks about how Tolstoy appreciated a certain innocence that he felt is unachievable after expanding his intellect. Tolstoy wondered whether "the intellect wasn't more of hindrance than an aid to human relatedness, to our moral life." To him 'intellect' might present an obstacle to both religious faith and being able to trust other people. I relate a lot to his feelings of having lost something. The firm belief that I used to have seems like something that will stay in the past - despite how uncomfortable that makes me feel.

platano's picture


I feel that the excerpt from Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" that Coles' shares with us resonates deeply with me. Not only is he saying that what good memories are important, but that they are important for a person's education. I have wanted to be a teacher nearly all of my life. When I was younger my desire to be a teacher was firmly grounded in the belief that if I could give my students a positive experience in my classroom, then that would hopefully benefit them in their futures. I felt, and still feel, that a person's childhood is very important.


Owl's picture

On what types of writing we should teach

I think Sir Ken Robinson would say, and I agree, that we should be encouraging creative writing. I for one am not thrilled about this change, for I've been trained to write a certain way that I have yet to master, and if we do change, I would be asked to start training myself to do another form of writing I am not necessarily a pro at either; but I think that it would be a good way to see how it is that others experience life through writing.

Here is a video of Sir Ken Robinson talking about creativity being just as important as literacy:

Owl's picture

How to Live

I feel as though stories, although not the same for everyone or everything in life, create pictures that attempt to describe that person or thing. That picture may not be exact and it may not describe in full what truth is; but it will at least give us an image to begin to learn how to interact with other life forms. I agree with Sagan that skepticism is the way to go, and aside from the fact that he was not so skeptical about science himself, I think there is 'use value' to his idea of skepticism. Whether it be science or narrative, we should always be skeptical, for there is never ONE true and irrefutable way of seeing things. Science and stories go hand in hand in trying to evaluate the way we work or do not work together as people of such diverse experiences.

jaranda's picture

Class Notes from Nov. 30

 Doubting and Believing


Our third 4 page paper is due online Friday at 5. Anne would be interested in seeing collaborative papers. 

For Thursday, we should read the first half of Call of Stories, and think about the role of stories in our lives. The book might be a little outdated, but we should compare our stories to his, and think about the role stories play in our lives. 

Smacholdt's picture

The Problem with Public Education

 I thought that Sir Ken Robinson’s video that we watched in class the other day was a clever way to convey the problems with education in an entertaining way. The video was creative on so many levels- he explained the issue clearly and concisely, while providing entertaining illustrations that drew the view’s attention to what he was talking about. In addition, the way he “taught” this topic is exactly the way that experts in the field of education say that our brains learn best- though drawing and connected, “idea webs” such as the one that Robinson drew during the presentation.

platano's picture

Categories in Family Guy

I was watching a Family Guy episode where Brian Writes A Best-Seller. Brian gets upset because none of the "serious" books he has written have gotten any attention. To prove the point that self-help books sell despite the lack of content he sets out to write one. His book "Wish It. Want It. Do It." becomes very successful and he gets to go on many interviews. The first one that he goes on is at a local news-station and the conversation that took place reminded me a lot about my Non-Fiction prose class. The conversation (07:01- 07:40)


TyL's picture

Stories Untold

I think an essential part of mental illness is that the patient feels like nobody has been listening to him/her for a very long time, and they are stuffed full of a need to speak, to tell their story, but they perceive no listening ear to hear it. I think that's a large part of the culture, the veneer, the outside appearance of "Fine, it's all fine, I'm fine"--nobody wants to hear the pain of someone else's life, and the considerate (maybe overly so) would rather let it eat away at them than burden another person with it, even if it would give them relief.

Anne Dalke's picture

Towards Day 26: Landing the Plane??


Syndicate content