An imitation of Mary Rowlandson’s “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson” from the Introduction and The First Remove:
It is always a sad sight to see so many students being robbed of their money by a school, some here, and some there, idling by like a group of gullible sheep, all of them stripped to nothingness by a university filled with greedy presidents, deans, chancellors and parking staff, as if they were happy to see us suffer; yet God gave us the strength we needed to survive being brain dead, for there were thousands of us mistreated by the university, but alas, happily graduated.
I used to say that if I ever began to love school, I would rather choose to die than be alive, but when the mere thought came alive my mind changed; the crisp diploma turned me on so, that I chose to follow the teachings of my (so called) professors, than that moment to die; and that is why I am alive today so that I may tell you all about my captivity in school, I will specifically talk about the several downfalls I had up and down the academic route.
Now away my group and I went with these ridiculous campus tour guides, with our minds tired and fried, and our hearts lighter than our minds. We walked about a mile, up upon a bridge within sight of nowhere, where they intended to blast our brains with information. There were empty tables by a library building (deserted by students, for fear of the Financial Aid Office). I asked them if I could stop by, to which they answered, “What, do you like having your money stolen?” This was the hardest day I ever experienced. Oh the yelling, and cheering and exclaiming, and smiling of those awful tour guides haunted me at night, which made the school a living hell. And as miserable as the waste that was there- empty land, small classrooms, insufficient dorm rooms, expensive but rather bland food, and unfair transportation and parking service (TAPS) staff, some boasting about, some ticketing away to feed our greedy university; which is quite expensive enough, though we were unhappy. To add on more to yesterday’s terrible day, and the disappointment of the night, my mind raced through my loss of money and my depressing condition. All was gone, my money gone, my motivation gone, my hobbies and freedom gone, my hometown and childhood home and my comfortable bed- all was gone (except my life), and I knew that my life could easily be taken too. There was nothing left in me but a depressed soul, and my sadness at the time seemed worse than dying because I was in such a terrible state, that I had no motivation to pick myself up and keep going.
Review of the Imitation:
Cating’s imitation of Rowlandson’s work in order to ridicule the university system is quite amusing. Her frustration about the costs of school and the burden on students is clear in her tone and her choice to imitate Rowlandson’s condescending paragraphs about the Indians in order to describe her anger at the university system makes her message clear. Are students so affected by the costs of tuition, books, school supplies, parking services, and other educational related expenses that they feel “stripped to nothingness”? Not only that, but Cating also emphasized the depression she felt and the loss of motivation because of the expenses. Fortunately, she was kind enough to start her imitation off with the news that she will be graduating before she wrote about her perilous academic journey.
We must also consider that Cating did try her best to imitate Rowlandson’s overall tone, which I think was spot on. Rowlandson’s tone in the First Remove was egotistical- she was quite clear that she (and her fellow Puritans) were better than the Indians. However, Cating did the opposite in which the university and those part of the university system were better than the her and her fellow undergraduates.
Another difference between Cating and Rowlandson’s work is that Rowlandson’s First Remove was her own personal experience and Cating made sure to keep that important element by including her own experiences with the university system as well. However, she makes it relatable by including other problems that other students encounter, such as “insufficient dorm rooms” or “expensive but rather bland food.” In this way, Cating is interacting with her audience and not only focusing on what she herself has experienced, but she is also including the hardships of others as well.
With this information, we must think about the problems of students beyond their homework and studying. How are they paying for their tuition? Are they being forced to take out thousands of student loans? Are they having to work full time on top of trying to lead an academic life? How is their mental and physical health being affected? There are many fortunes to earning a degree, but it is important to acknowledge the reality that students are facing depression, anxiety, and financial issues among other things at such a young age.