In The Basement Of The Ivory Tower: Chapter 4

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Matt Murphy Non-Film Response February 28th, 2012 In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Chapter 4 The book, In the Basement of the Ivory Tower, delineates the major flaws in higher education from the biased perspective of a struggling adjunct professor who assumes the pseudonym “Professor X”. In the Professors somewhat cynical, highly sarcastic style of writing, he explains his critical (arguably controversial) point, that not every person is fit for higher education and that America itself is to blame. His misanthropic attitude towards the education system seems to be a product unquestionably trying life experiences, which in turn makes it hard to gage the legitimacy of all his criticism. In chapter 4, The four stages of a plot, Professor X compares his experiences and struggles in real estate to the classic four phase literary form of short stories; exposition, rising action, climax and denouement. He describes his lower class upbringing in the exposition, his slow but steady progression to middle class in the rising action, and his poorly considered big move to a substancial home putting him in major dept and forcing to become an adjunct professor for extra income in the climax. He concludes saying he finds it difficult to teach denouement, the part of the story where “the characters resume something akin to normal life”(p.72), because he’s not sure if it actually exists. Throughout the read thus far, i’ve found Professor X’s writing sarcastic and even amusing. It gives a playful undertone to his otherwise pessimistic outlook on what he’s writing about. He often references american classic novels, or historical events and puts himself in the event sarcastically blowing off whatever major event is occurring. On page 68 he writes, “Imagine us in our Pompeiian villa in AD 79. “Tremors? We’re always having tremors,””(p 68) In chapter four he gives a

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