To: Earl Jackson
Re: Poignant Cry
Hi Earl, Here’s what my students responded with when I asked them to send
me an email with a question about the class they wanted answered:

I need to know that I will survive this class.
Is it really so
devastating? I have noticed that the amount of reading is large enough to
cripple someone, not necessarily involuntarily, just to the point of
wondering when the eye doctor has an open appointment, but is every book
and article going to be mentioned on the exams?

I don’t understand Email at
all whatsoever. I’m still learning.

I would like to ask why is there so
much Email in this class? Cause I don’t know much about Email and I don’t
understand the web.

Must I always turn things in this way, via e-mail? It
is so cold, unemotional and detached…but damn it is sooooo convenient.

believe that somebody in class said that they [detectives] seemed to be
aloof from the rest of the people in the cases; is this because they are
supposed to be super-human or because that are super-fluent in „humanese“and as a result can stand outside of the disturbance and simply view the

A question about the class that I would like to see addressed
is the different methods a detective chooses to solve a crime and its
advantages and disadvantages. How can you combine these different
disciplines in a story to create the „best“ detective?

I know we are doing
a study of detective fictions in the literary realm, but this is not saying

What do we hope to glean from this study? What is the question we are

I would like to know what exactly am I supposed to be getting from
the class as a whole? When we are reading the novels/short stories should
we also be playing detective and attempting to figure out the ending before
the narrator tells us or should we stand back, enjoy the piece and allow
the „Dupin“ or „Holmes“ make us feel inferior to them by laying everything
out for us?

In many detective stories it is the man who records and
interprets the information, but it is usually the female (or femme fatale)
who knows the entire situation, but is either killed or silenced.

Why do
these same roles appear in many detective fictions? What is the
relationship between a detective and his case? What drives him? Does the
tale of the foiled detective represent a subversion of narrative desire
because no informational climax is reached?

I need to know that I will
survive this class. Is it really so devastating?“

Isn’t that amazing? Do call if you’re in town tonight, best, S.

Scott Davis
UC Santa Cruz, Literature Board

Think about that the next time you see the hazy outlines of your own face
superimposed on your computer screen.