The Average College Student Curse

A Narrative of the Captivity of the Average College Student

The Sovereignty and goodness of GOD, together with the faithfulness of his promises displayed, being a narrative of the captivity and restoration of the average college student. Written by the hand of the average college student, for their private humor, and now made public at the desire of other average college students, and for the benefit of the average college students college loans.

On the 16th of September, came the college recruiters with great numbers upon different cities, their first coming was about junior year of high school, hearing the noise of sold dreams. They came and sold dreams about a better life and financial freedom. They took the students that had earned high SAT and ACT scores, there were five students taken in one house; carried away alive. Thus these money hungry recruiters, went on recruiting and promising empty dreams.

I am an average college student, they came and beset our own classroom, and quickly it was the “littest” day I saw. A year and a half later I arrived to my next destination, a college campus.  A city foreign to my own, it was freezing cold and I wasn’t prepared. The scenery was dead, the first thing I had witnessed was the cows everywhere. About a mile we went that night, and we ended up at the dorms. I asked them whether I could have my own room, which they refused. Putting us into rooms with 3 other average college students. Oh the screaming, and singing ,and dancing of the other college students in their dorms. Not everyone made it out of that first year of college, those were the 7 academically dismissed by the system. They were dismissed in a barbarous way, now owing the university thousands of dollars. 

They said we were sentenced to 4 years in this system, but it wasn’t always 4 some other average college students were sentenced to up to 6. Years would pass and the loans kept coming, adding more time to your sentence. Even if you were able to leave you were shackled to the institution. In the past I had often before this said that if college recruiters should come, I should choose to reject their advances and their promises of a better life. But my mind quickly changed when they screamed their promises of financial freedom and a better life. I chose rather to go along with those (as I may say) money hungry college recruiters, than that moment end my days in a town where better lives weren’t promised. And that I may declare what happened to me in those 4 years at the institution.


I chose “the Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson” by Mary Rowlandson herself because I felt like this would be the perfect piece of literature that could resonate with modern times. College Institutions could be considered modern day captivity because we are brought here from different ways of life and different paths to the same place. Everyone leaves everything they find dear behind and comes to a new place to start over. Students are promised the opportunity of creating a better life but they never add how you risk being in debt for many years to come. My imitation covers how I view the average college student, after talking to many people about their experiences and also my own I thought this parody would be the most sensible for me. I attempted to follow the style of writing in the texts but tried adding a modern touch to it. The reason I started my story in 11th grade is because I feel like as college juniors we are pressured to apply to different schools with the hopes of if you get in you will create a better life for yourself. After getting into UC Merced I was very naive about what was to come next, at times I did feel trapped in this new life. Merced was very different from where I grew up and was familiar with but the thought of going back was no longer an option for me. Another reason that made me want to write this imitation was because I feel like at times the university doesn’t necessarily let students know what they are signing up for. As a first generation college student I oftentimes felt more trapped because I didn’t feel like the counselors really helped. A lot of people see college as a scam so I thought that writing in the point of view of an “average college student” would be humorous but yet as real as I could be. I used the “average college student” as a way to show how that’s really what we are viewed as when we step foot at the university. There’s so many of us that at times not everyone knows your name, they just know you as another college student. I felt like writing in that point of view allows other people to resonate with me. Finally, I felt like this specific text was the one that I could relate to most because although it hasn’t been to such a literal sense as a college student I did feel to the system captive at times.

– Eugenia Brumley

Rime of The Wiser Professor

Creative Project:

Said he to the students entering—

Facing all of sixty seats:

“Charmed to greet you, ye who enter,

Praise be unto those who brave these 18th-century seas!”

But whoa, oh alas!

How he beckoned in vain,

Casting down forlorn students

With a mandated 15% participation grade.

So little he asked,

And yet so outwardly they grieved

Eyes downcast upon the floor, one failed quiz followed another,

From those unfortunate enough to have forgotten to read

O! trembled it did, his forsaken heart!

To witness their great collapse,

Each student, vigorless and vacant of interlude

Fallen wordlessly into terminal relapse

They lie silent in every row, careening the time

As their eyes glazed over in weariness, each grade paid its toll;

Like Death wrapped in lyrical hymns—while their professor requested very little—

CatCourses demanded their souls.

“Cursed am I!” The sore professor wept.

“Like the undead, they sit and they wallow!

I bring them tea and satire and metal,

Yet, their very understanding of what it means to be here—to be alive— appears too difficult to swallow!”

And yet, marched onward he did through an unresponsive scene;

Cursing the monotonous hues—

The purples, the greens, and the blues—

All glistening on the projector screen.

Inspired by the Romantics (and perchance Sir William Blake)

The professor sought refuge in the outdoors

And with sordid groans and unsightly quakes

Did each student arise from their throne of unrest beyond the door

Trembling was he,

As he witnessed their final claims

Like music each volunteered some insightful counterpoint

Proposing his own unrest as idleness and misunderstanding of their ways

“O! By the humanities!” Did the professor croak,

Gazing with bereavement in the cup of black tea in his hands,

“How peculiar it is, that they seem so averse to reading,

To fulfill their contract’s demands?

“They see not the sunlight glistening, nor the ducks over yonder…

They notice not the effort required— that I supply—

For the creation of such presentations.

Still their attention lay somewhere beyond here.

“And still I stand patient,

Perhaps the wiser for having waited

As they come crawling, evermore frequent,

With their begging: ‘Have mercy upon those who knew so little before!’”


To start: Yes, this poem was intended to sound extremely bitter.

This was my attempt at a lyrical ballad. Specifically, it is a recreation of Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The purpose of this project was to utilize the presence of “zombies” within Coleridge’s poem as a reflection of the attitude of many at the start of the semester. It would be accurate to say that this poem exploits the expectations of the student with respect to those of the professor; in simpler terms, I think that more appreciation ought to be expressed towards those who do as much as possible to provide us the best education they can. Moreover, where there is often a discrepancy between the relationship of the teacher and the student, it is easy to place blame on the wiser when one chooses not to participate in self-reflection.

-Savie Luce

Narrative of the Captivity of a Stereotype Privileged Person by a less-Privileged Person

And now I must part with what little company I had. I had parted with my BFF Tiffany (whom I never saw again till I saw her in Clovis, returned from juvenile), and from every other civil person who could afford decent highlights. Lord only knows what happened to her, sentenced to community service in Fresno with a fine. These people around me, I was nothing like them. I’d only tried to rip off a single Gucci bag from the mall. These thugs around me looked like they could beat me senseless. The animals they called guards are brutal. They’re so rude and they barely treat me like a human being. This was my second court date. I’d been in lock up due to the crowded detention centers for months. This cold, desolate place was hardly fit for someone of my stature and social standing. I’d only needed that purse because the woman at the counter had so unfairly denied my request for a discount. If she knew who I was, she would have begged for my business. In my time here, I didn’t cry a single tear. I watched as children were prodded around like cattle. Those “behavioural issues” these guards talked about were nothing but the true reactions of scared children. Most of them I’d seen grow up. The other inmates I saw had been mostly from the lower income side of Fresno. Not unlike the guards, those hooligans were animalistic themselves. Their smoke-leadened cries of desperation were pathetic. If it had been up to me, I would have sentenced them to the fullest form of punishment. Anything from shoplifting chips to armed robbery would have a life sentence from me. Anything to keep that riff-raff from growing into a full-blown criminal.

I don’t belong here. This cruel injustice, being mixed with people who couldn’t afford to breathe in the same school ground as I walk on from day to day, it is unacceptable. As soon as my parents return to the country, I will be released into their custody and they will find a way to fix all of this. No amount of therapy will ever be enough to cleanse the thoughts of these horrible people. How dare they silence me, an American citizen. I have god-given rights to this country. How could they lump me with the trash that pollutes our nation? My family has been on the top of many food chains for generations? Can half of the people in this hellish place claim that? I doubt half of them even speak the language, let alone possess the ability or knowledge to speak of their worth. Which, if I did say so myself, was not much. I felt pity for those who had potential to be greater simply based on their heritage. They wasted their potential. Now, like those people who lived from welfare check to welfare check, they rotted in here. All I could think of was how sweet it would be to be rid of myself from this awful place. I didn’t belong here. It was only a matter of time before they saw how unjust I was being treated. I was there for seven days.


I chose to parody The Fourth Remove of Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson. I thought it would be interesting to take a concept of someone who was dramatizing such a horrible experience but twist it to victimize herself completely. In this parody I greatly emphasized the nature of someone who was far more privileged than perhaps most of the people in my community as a whole or even the community (Clovis) that I chose reference. The satirical emphasis on the degradation of lower socioeconomic position was an aesthetic choice showing that even when the “victim” was clearly at fault, much like the settlers of Rowlandson’s time, they could still set themselves above the rest. Though I preserved the proper and “high-class” tone of Rowlandson’s piece, I chose not to choose religion as the narrator’s salvation but rather social class. I wanted to sneak in subtle hints of just how privileged this girl was, not just in wealth but in social aspects as well. Her parents are clearly wealthy, having been travelling outside of the country presumably for leisure or even business and foreign business trips are often the results of a high-paying career in general. I think most people agreed, within the class as well as amongst historical writers such as William Apess (who wrote his own parody piece), Rowlandson was making a very biased judgement of the natives of her time based on her religion and her race. Even though her people were technically the invaders of that land, they saw the property as their own and the inhabitants as pests and animals. I chose to parody this frame of mind by mimicking the animal analogies as well as casting a light on how she turned a merciful eye on those kids (presumably younger students) who were in the narrator’s social circle. I specifically made a casual mention of therapy in the narrator’s speech to further separate her from the other (minorities? Lower income kids?) inmates who no-doubt felt fear to some extent or even had no remorse but nonetheless would probably never have the opportunity to receive proper counseling.

-Asia Reyna

Percy Shelley’s Philosophy in 2019

[Please note that this is a parody of Percy Shelley’s “England in 1819”. It places his philosophies and constructs in the modern world and satirizes them.]

A sad, angsty, bewildered, misunderstood, and frustrated boy

Romantic at heart, the product of a fortunate face and a mischievous mind, that ponders

The integrity of social justices; How God walked the halls of University,

Knowing not the dissociation between his love for knowledge and his unwavering hold on power,

Calling it blasphemy to marry the arts with the scientific

Segregating a love which only the Socratic could call lust.

How far would you wander to see the two consecrated?

Born again through your ideals, as a product of your own romances?

You knew not of Camus, nor Sartre or Bataille; lingering yonder in the morrow

Nor how they two would hide their ideals between their teeth;

A lie bound tightly by what the “Virgin” Mary would call promiscuity

Borne again through Creatures and Monsters, playing God between graves

“But behold,” still you preface, Frankenstein in hand, “This touches not the philosophical. Nor the modern day, somewhere in the distance.”

-Savie Luce

Pope the Poet

This satirical print against Pope displays the backlash and hatred Pope received after publishing The Dunciad (1729). The image is a highly creative, but also disturbing reflection of what happens when one speaks against and parodies common rule/ popular following. In this image, Pope is depicted as a rat-like mutation hunched over as a result of the production variorumof his literature. While this image might be seen as cruel, I feel as though in a distinct way, Pope would have appreciated the creativity and extent to which this piece of literature (the image) was made.

In The Dunciad, Pope created a work which mocks the writers, critics, and readers whom he felt were simply dull, tasteless, irrelevant and corrupt. The goal of his piece was to shine light on the need for more powerful, meaningful literature. The poem is a shot at all those whom contribute to the production and release of such type of literature, forcing them to realize how ridiculousness their work truly is.

In The Dunciad, Pope writes:

“Whate’er the talents, or howe’er design’d,
We hang one jingling padlock on the mind:
A Poet the first day, he dips his quill;
And what the last? a very Poet still.
Pity! the charm works only in our wall, [165]”

Here Pope makes bold assertion that no matter what the talents of a person are, they will always be a poet and that in and of itself is of extreme importance. Therefore no words against him shall prosper but only be reflected under light at the end of the day.


-Angelica Costilla-Mancha

Of the three images published by the “bullies” of Alexander pope, this final image is perhaps the subtlest in its criticism. It portrays one of the Grub Street writers – the “low-end” writing order that Tories Pope and Swift were members of – in a “stereotype” Grub street writing environment; chaotic, with the presence of harlots – or of similarly disreputable women – with the discarding of honor and virtue as represented by the sword forgotten on the ground, and with the distraction – and ultimate hack-quality production – of the Grub street writer himself. Although there is no explicit mention of the Grub Street writes in the fourth book of the Dunciad – our prescribed reading for this question – it must be made clear for the sake of context that, despite being a Grub Street writer himself, Pope himself satirizes Grub Street. That fact alone provides a new angle on the Dunciad and the motivations of Pope: he sought to satirize his contemporary English society – but he was also able to recognize his, and his works’, roles in society.

            Based off my interpretation that the woman on the far left in this image is a harlot, I believe that Pope’s invocation of the “harlot” figure in his Fourth Book of the Dunciad was intentional. In the fourth book of The Dunciad, Pope opens with a vivid stanza – a metaphoric reflection on Pope’s cynical view on English society – portraying the gagging and binding of Logic and the stripping of “fair rhetoric.” I believe that this is a jab at either the Grub Street writes or what the Grub Street writers represented to the “elites” of English society: the degradation of their valiant and proper language. Much like Swift attacks the elitism behind “proper” English through the horse-people’s ridiculous dialect, Pope not only acknowledges his order’s impropriety – he also turns it into a double-entendre assault against the originators of the highly elitist “degraded English” perspective on Grub Street. He does this by invoking the harlot figure as a savior:

When, lo! a harlot form soft sliding by,

With mincing step, small voice, and languid eye:

Foreign her air, her robe’s discordant pride

In patchwork fluttering, and her head aside:

The harlot enters the chaos that is this perceived denigration of the English language. Her voice is “small” to symbolize that she does not conform to the boisterous righteousness of proper English, her robes are “foreign “and “patchwork” to pronounce her position as a commoner, and her occupation as a harlot is degraded enough.

It is curious, then, that Swift seems to have “stolen” this savior harlot from his critics. Note that the harlot in the above image is holding a scripture of her own. I believe that, from the perspective of Pope’s critics, this was meant to represent that Grub Street was so disgusting that even harlots could write there. Pope “steals” this idea by portraying the “soft” and “foreign” harlot as being the only figure capable of halting the chaos and calling out the agents behind them;

She tripped and laughed, too pretty much to stand;

Cast on the prostrate Nine a scornful look,

Then thus in quaint recitative spoke

The “Nine” referred to above were the “Logic” and “Rhetoric” and other such capitalized concepts mentioned by Swift; highly powerful concepts, with a lot of order and pre-established rules surrounding them – and yet Swift seems to almost agree with his critics that not only do base commoners have voices such as the harlot in the critics image and the harlot in Swift’s poem – he takes it a step further by suggesting that voice is the only voice able to actually silence the rabid and needless chaos that surrounds the elitist exaltation of the English language.

HELLO! You’re not perfect either!

After going over Alexander Pope’s “The Dunciad” and lecture notes I believe that the most appropriate image to use would be image #2. This image was used to academically ridicule Pope and satirize his work to the fullest, in this image Pope is shown as a small hunched monkey, and the satirist refers to Pope as “A P E”. Out of the three images I felt like this one had the darkest satire because the fact that the monkey was hunched illuminates Pope’s own illness of Tuberculosis. I feel like the artist used satire in describing Pope as a monkey for two reasons because 1) that would take from Pope’s credibility but also 2) he is using Pope’s illness and ailment against him. In “the Dunciad”, Pope does criticize other authors so I feel like the satire in the image is used to say, “HELLO! You’re not perfect either!” It is evident that Pope isn’t perfect and the artist may have took it too far bringing up his illness but I think another thing worth noting is the fact that the Roman Catholic Church was mentioned. Pope was known as a follower of the Catholic Church, but even then he was treated sort of as a second class citizen and evidently not respected. I feel like the image illuminates Book 4 because it fires back at Pope’s judgements and seemingly encourages him to humble himself.

I interpreted footnote 2 as satire because Pope is calling out those who “see things that don’t exist” I feel like here is an example of him undermining or even criticizing someone else. In image #2 I interpret the image of being an attack, but an appropriate one focused on literary battle. Pope went on a back and fourth battle and indeed shots were fired. Pope seemed very egotistical and this image definitely was used to shut it down!

Questionable Criticism

Alexander Pope was definitely an interesting character. Thus, I decided to go with Image 1, which is a reflection of the treatment Pope dealt with.  The printed image maliciously depicts Popes physical disability as well as his standing as a civilian. I believe the image was primarily made to discredit Pope’s satire about the institutions rising dullness. Pope was not so subtlety calling out the suppression of the arts, education and the sciences to dullness, and doing so insultingly. At the very end of the poem Pope wrote

Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;

Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!

Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored;

Light dies before thy uncreating word:

Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;

And universal darkness buries all. (The Dunciad)

Once England has been handed over to Dulness, everything lost sense, and the people of the land grew tired, physically. Without stimulation of the arts and different schools of education, the masses have nothing to keep them alert. Pope was certainly extreme in depicting this, but in precarious times, extreme actions are sometimes the wake-up call the people need. The image “The Poetical Tom-Titt perch’d upon the Mount of Love, Being the Representation of a Merry Description in Mr. Cibber’s Letter to Mr. Pope”, was only made to distract the population from the truth of Pope’s satire. The image shows Cibber saving Pope from what is said to be a prostitute, the door is flung open demonstrating the “real” Pope. Pope himself is shown as a very small man clinging to the body of a half nude woman, with a rather small head. This suggests that he was clinging onto a half-truth, the size of the woman’s head could be a statement about the legitimacy of Pope’s argument.

The image began printing the same year the fourth book of The Dunciad was published. While this could have been true, I believe that it was just a mean picture meant to discourage the population from believing Pope, and Pope from continuing his writing. The topic and nature of his words really lit a fire beneath people and the response was a satirical image. So, while images like these are important to contextualize work, one should really take them with a grain of salt. Always learn more about why an image depicts what it does, and the message that it is sending out, because this image was just a direct response of Pope’s satirical work.

– Sabrina Vazquez

Using Satire as Fodder for Satire

The satirical engraving of Colley Cibber pulling Alexander Pope off of a prostitute (image #1), which criticized Pope’s satirical works, is both a malicious attack on Pope’s physical appearance, but also the fodder which Pope likely used to parody and replicate for The Dunciad. The engraving features a noble Cibber “saving Pope” from a prostitute, likely a symbolization of disease and therefore poor writing. Cibber, in the description below the image, is said to have saved British poetry by this act, since Pope was known to satirize old texts. While the comic was likely intended to cause emotional distress, it may have given Pope many of the ideas he used in The Dunciad, a critique on writers who are dull and/or corrupt. It is also worthwhile to mention that Pope’s work was significantly influenced by the ongoing rift between the sciences and humanities, the latter of which was recently under attack by poor writers and corruption, something Pope likely took personal offense to. Cibber, one of Pope’s more successful enemies and Poet Laureate, attack one another satirically, Pope using some of the same elements from the engraving and replicating them in a carnival fashion.

For example, Cibber in The Dunciad, is given the role of Dulness’ son, the Queen of the Kingdom of Dull, and the enemy of the sciences and humanities. He has a nobility role in this topsy-turvy land, and similar to the engraving, which imbues him with the duty to pull Pope off the prostitute and save literature. He is tasked, along with Dulness, to imprison and destroy Science, Wit, Logic, Rhet’ric, etc., the personifications of themselves. It is clear from the engraving that Cibber is supposedly doing Pope a favor for the good of everyone else, and Pope interprets this too in The Dunciad, although flipping the meaning. Pope interprets it as chaotic and evil, writing that when Cibber and his legion of supporters (Dulness, clerk, etc.) have successfully eradicated all Enlightenment ideals, “thy dread Empire, CHAOS! Is restor’d…And Universal Darkness buries All”. Even the prostitute makes a significant appearance in both satirical works, both symbolizing a blight upon the world, although one in a negative connotation; in The Dunciad, as a positive one. It is important to recognize that the prostitute in the satirical engraving allows for a deformed Pope to perch “pertly on the Mount of Love” and thus be inflicted by poor writing. In The Dunciad, the prostitute’s role is the same, although instead of afflicting Pope, she is the harbinger for “Division”, giving scorn to the Muses of ancient Greece, and therefore Enlightenment ideals.

Based on these similar points, it is likely that Pope took the form of the satirical engraving meant to mock him and use it to mock his enemies. While not a direct hypertext, Pope incorporates many of the same elements such as pretention and blight, and the characters of Cibber and the prostitute. Seeing as Pope was a master of satire, it is not hard to fall under the assumption that Pope likely saw the engraving and utilized it for his own gain.

-Sara Nuila-Chae


Circular Reasoning

The cartoon quite literally makes a monkey out of Pope and his words hang over the ears of an ass. This in simplistic observation, is trivializing his intelligence and accusing him of being a figurative animal and insulting his intelligence. The irony here is the hypocrisy this perpetuates. In calling him a fool and overly generalizing the satirist, the cartoonist satirizes himself. The Dunciad can be considered an oversimplification for providing very vague criticisms. It writes:

Beneath her foot-stool, Science 10  groans in Chains,

And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties and Pains.

There foam’d rebellious Logic, gagg’d and bound [25]

It is very straightforward. Rationality itself is being stifled in the world, but by the cartoonist’s derivation of Pope’s work, he is just perpetuating a generality. He is simply making a literal ass out of him. By interpreting or criticizing the passage in its most general direct form, the cartoonist is simply proving Pope’s point. Part of the satire in The Dunciad revolves around the overgeneralization of rationality itself. By lumping all distinct criticisms as a whole, the whole perpetuation of trivializing collective reasoning is cyclical. The irony is this post itself presents a very generic discussion on generality, which in turn makes me an ass of myself, but I cannot fully represent the generalized satire as a whole otherwise.

-Kevin Martinez