grades linda pastan

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Linda Pastan view of grades No one likes to be repeatedly judged, especially their own family. In the late nineteen seventies Linda Pastan wrote two similar, but quite different, poems about being graded. The first one is Pass/Fail (1975) and the other one is Marks (1978). In both the speaker shows that she is less than pleased with the ides of continually being judged, so much so that years later she is having nightmares about failing. The images in both of these literary works show a fear of being graded and judged. In Marks the speaker’s attitude in one of unresponsiveness, this is made obvious by the images she uses to compare her family’s regard for her motherly duties to school grades. “My husband gives me an A for last night’s supper, an incomplete for my ironing, a B plus in bed” My son says I am average” (Pastan 1-5). There is no emotion used in theses lines. Notice that her grades are good. Her worst grade is an incomplete which could convert to a better grade, maybe even an A or B, upon completion. Her daughter “believes / in Pass/ Fail and tells [her], [she] pass[es]” (9–11). Then why is she “dropping out.”(12)? The list of her roles implies the many things expected of her. As well, the three different grading systems seem to show her frustrations with multiple standards. Few people see being a typical mother and wife as a full-time job in itself, and it is not unusual for women who are both of these to feel overworked and unappreciated. In Pass/ Fail Pastan appears to be portraying her fears of ether her or one of her children’s fear of failing or passing an exam. The speaker is having nightmares of failing tests. She is dreaming of taking a test, but she “ [ has not] even/ taken the course” (9-10). She tries to “conjugate a verb - / [but] it is in the wrong/ language” (15-17). Why does the speaker dread failing so much?

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