A sub-honours English essay on King Lear, composed almost entirely of fancy French words and phrases, has been awarded a 19 despite its complete lack of original analysis or insight.
Second year Damien O’Flannery told The Sinner that an indiscriminate use of French words in his essays generally produces a favourable result. ‘I’m not the best student by any means’ admits O’Flannery, ‘after reading King Lear I had literally no feelings about it whatsoever, but I’ve found that if I just fling foreign expressions into my essays willy-nilly, tutors are impressed and assume I know what I’m talking about.’ Although this approach tends to yield essays that are devoid of substance and basically nonsensical, O’Flannery’s resourcefulness has earned him a spot on the Dean’s List.
Professor Rahul Kumar, O’Flannery’s tutor, has naturally been subject to intense scrutiny following the emergence of this story, but is showing no sign of resipiscence. Several students and faculty members from the School of English have demanded a re-mark, but Kumar says that he would make no changes to the grade. ‘Like it or not, this is practically a perfect paper’ announced Kumar defiantly, ‘the student has used some of the nicest sounding French phraseology out there, and done so with panache’. When pressed further, Kumar conceded that ‘it is a bit hand-wavy, but how can I mark down an essay that rolls of the goddamn tongue like butter?’
The essay builds on the vague proposition that Shakespeare’s classic tragedy has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi‘, resulting in a highly non-committal piece of work. O’Flannery writes in his introduction that ‘King Lear has a little quelque chose quelche chose that I can’t quite put my finger on, it has beaucoup de characters, all of whom are a bit avant-garde for my taste but ça ne fait rien‘ and then goes on to argue that ‘For me, Cordelia’s relationship with her pére is a tad pain au chocolat, and could do with some plat du jour, if you know what I mean’. The rest of the essay is just a string of meaningless French dictums until the last paragraph, which cogently summarises the argument and then finally concludes ‘comme ci, comme ça‘.