National Collegiate Honors Council



Serious Play

Date of this Version

Spring 2000


Published in the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 1:1, Spring/Summer 2000. Copyright © 2000 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Among the arts, perhaps only music shares the power to console; moreover, the times we wish for such succor are usually not nearly as dramatic as an untimely death. A simple example: when, by the luck of the draw, I have a collection of students who refuse to meet me halfway and engage in the work most classes do willingly and with pleasure, my thoughts turn to the matador Pedro Romero in The Sun Also Rises who gets a bull which does not see well. Such a bull makes it impossible to do one's best work, for such a bull cannot respond properly to the cape. Nonetheless, Hemingway's bullfighter, a professional, does the best he can with what he has; so, smiling inwardly as I am reminded of him, I think "OLE!" and do my best with a class that sees less clearly than one might wish.