Friday, April 27, 2007

Empty classrooms

Classes are over; only finals week remains. That means a lot of sitting in my office in a suddenly quiet building, reading papers and portfolios.

In his memoir Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic, the literary critic Paul Fussell writes,

When deserted by students, classrooms are dead in a way no other public spaces are. . . . College students are so fresh, so noisy, and so beautiful that their absence from empty classrooms is unignorably melodramatic and touching. They and their charming loquacity pass, but the room is silent, and it remains, in its permanence and anonymity making its ironic comment: "You young people will grow old; your hopes and certainties alike will fade away; your vigor and beauty will vanish; you will be replaced by others like you, equally self-certain and self-concerned."



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