STOKES NORTH — First Year Writing Seminar is a special part of every Eagle’s freshman year at BC. Around midterm season, things started to get intense for local freshman, Barry Portabella (MCAS ‘21), whose assigned peer reviewer for his rhetoric essay apparently “fucking sucks” at writing.
Portabella has been published in two separate independent magazines, and eagerly anticipated sharing his gift for writing with the rest of his seminar. As he walked into class looking upon the faces of his enlightened, cream-of-the-crop, Grade-A, free-range, Jesuit-educated peers, he wondered with whom he would be matched as a peer reviewer. He was more than disappointed however, when he learned that his classmate whom shall not be named was decidedly less than meets the eye.
“The student’s essay was, in a word: garbage,” said Portabella, “it was insulting to read. I mean she used the phrase ‘Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines rhetoric as’ in her essay. I couldn’t believe it.”
Portabella’s favorite writers include some of the greats: Austen, Hemingway, and McCarthy. Sadly, his 18-year-old peer from Ohio did not compare. He wondered if she was even taking this University Core Curriculum course seriously.
Portabella assured us that he was not so cocky as to place himself so highly with his favorite writers, remarking that “I’m no Socrates… but I could be a Plato.”
He struggled to keep his composure whilst reading his “peer’s” work. Instead of leaving the class in disgust, the freshman blessed her paper with a flood of ink from a red pen. “I take my critiques seriously, which means I think positive praise is pointless and negative comments are the only thing I write. It’s not personal, I’m just doing what’s best for her paper,” he grumbled, fighting the urge to crumple the worthless piece of paper into a ball and hurl it at his partner.
Portabella finds it “cute” to see another young mind attempt to grapple with prose and rhetorical analysis so helplessly. “My professor should be grateful to have me in this class to help save a poor soul like this one. I mean really, where would she be without a pushy man in her life?” mused Portabella.
As the peer review session ended, he handed her paper with a vague “needs work” written after every paragraph. His own piece of work was full of ink reminding him to answer the prompt, but at least he knew his paper didn’t fucking suck.