After This Post, You Cannot Credibly Claim That This Blog Does Not Provide Materials That You Can Use in Class


My parents spent about a tenth of my father’s annual income to send me to a Jesuit prep school. In one of my first English courses, the young Jesuit who was teaching the course was trying to explain to us the difference between an image, a metaphor, and a symbol. At some point, he used the term “phallic,” and as soon as my note-taking caught up with his voice, my hand shot up. When I asked what “phallic” meant, I had no idea that he would find the question at all amusing or that most of my classmates would already know the meaning of the word and suspect that I had somehow jimmied up my score on the entrance exam.

My father worked in a sprawling munitions plant that produced artillery shells, and in the very blue-collar neighborhood in which I was growing up, I had learned many slang words…

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