I am really disturbed by the number of papers that imply that the Wife of Bath is responsible for Jankyn’s violence, that she deserves to be hit, and that she shouldn’t “allow” him to treat her this way. I’m now examining my teaching-conscience, wondering if something I said or the way I presented the Wife’s Prologue prompted such attitudes, or if the students really believe this.
Students should feel free to disagree with me; I don’t want to get pious papers that just parrot my own words or pay lip-service to politically correct notions. The papers I’m complaining about show flaws in logic and insufficient attention to the text. The fact that my skin is crawling over some of the statements (most, though not all, from female students) has nothing to do with the grades they’re getting. I just need to vent, before I go into the classroom and calmly, thoughtfully, make students think about the likely effects of a twenty-something man hitting a forty-something woman over the head.