Creative thesis no easy way out for English majors

Letter to the Editor


I appreciate that The Pioneer ran a piece about the English creative thesis last week, but I feel that the article misrepresented the rigor of the creative thesis and my opinion of critical theses.

The latter is due both to a flippant comment on my part and the way that comment was used in the article.   When I said, “Number one, writing a seventy page critical analysis of literature sounded horrible to me” I meant it humorously.   However, in the article, this quote was off set in a large font, which both pulled it out of context and made it seem completely serious.   Allow me to explain my opinion in a more articulate fashion.   I am very impressed by my friends and classmates who are writing critical theses.   This requires enormous amounts of research and intense critical thought, not to mention hours of writing well crafted sentences.   My own aversion to writing a critical thesis is personal and due more to the length of the work and not the critical aspect: I actually enjoy writing shorter critical papers, but I don’t know if I could maintain focus for a thesis length analysis.

My greater objection is that there is no discussion in the article of the difficulty of writing a creative thesis and the dedication required.   It may seem like the easier option, instead of analyzing great works you just write whatever you want.   But there is much more involved.   Having done creative writing for a grant this summer, I can tell you that writing even a ten page story can be hard work.   Instead of working from a specific set of novels, writing a creative thesis is like setting sail with a basic itinerary but no idea of how exactly you will get there or what obstacles you might come across on your way.   It takes a great amount of bravado to say “Here is what I am going to write.   Yes, it will be at least seventy pages long.   And yes, it will be good.”   And it requires a lot of hard work and love to fulfill the boast.

Don’t let this deter you.   I am still of the opinion that for me the creative thesis will be far more fun to write than a critical one.   But it’s not the easy way out.   Not by a long shot.

–Mimi Cook ’10