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What’s so important about this literary analysis paragraph thing? Maybe you won’t be spending your life analyzing literature. Maybe this is some academic exercise that is ultimately no big deal in the greater scheme of your life.

Or maybe it is…

You will always be measured, remembered and assessed for the clarity of your thoughts, for your ability to cut through the clutter and discern the truest essence  of truth, and for the magnitude, breadth, and depth of your thoughts when conveying this truth. Your way with words is the yardstick that measures the weight of you who you are and ultimately defines how you are perceived and evaluated. Writing and speaking well is not a dream to be toyed with; it is an action that is perfected by sustained action embedded in the power of language—the only real and memorable way we communicate with each other. 

I am simply a teacher, albeit, an annoying demagogue who is insisting on your grasping at something that is no doubt just beyond your reach, and frankly, just beyond my reach as well. I am sure it frustrates you as much as it frustrates me. You are so close to reaching it as much as I feel I am teaching it, so we have to keep playing this game of cat and mouse and trust that some moment of epiphany is just around the corner, that your work and mine is not in vain or an exercise in vanity.

This literary analysis business is a lot like a baseball game: if you even manage a hit every three times at bat, you are considered a star; if you manage to hit a homer once—just once—every ten times at bat, you are proclaimed a hero, destined to be celebrated and remembered through succeeding ages, but no one is impressed by batters who are content to only swing in a batting cage, or by players who wait for walks or for easy lob balls dribbled remorsefully into the infield. Your game right now is on the line; the bases are loaded; there are two outs and you are down by three, and now it is all up to you.

So swing, dammit, swing. The ball is straight down the pike. It is your moment and there is no tomorrow.