By Anonymous - 29/11/2017 15:45

Today, I had to explain to my Creative Writing teacher what an antagonist is. FML
I agree, your life sucks 4 139
You deserved it 281

fishyrael tells us more.

OP here, didn't expect to actually get published! Backstory, it's a college Intro class that I have to take before I can branch off into the Fiction classes (it's my major with intent to teach Fiction writing myself at university level). My professor has a PhD in Poetry. The first half of the class was poetry, and this last half of the semester is fiction. The problem is she has no interest in seeing her fiction-oriented students succeed, and from her feedback on my stories, I'm fairly certain she's not even reading them from feedback like not being able to tell two different characters with different names were not the same person. But I digress. The student's story we were workshopping was about an nonathletic person going mountain climbing with his athletic friend, Charles. Charles spends the whole story pushing the protagonist forward and encouraging him, "You can do it!" and "We're almost there!" She tried to tell us Charles HAD to be the antagonist because he was the only other character in the story. So I called her out and told her the antagonist is whatever force that drives the conflict forward, as well as explaining the concept of Man vs Man, Man vs Self, Man vs Nature, etcetera. This woman is a college professor for fucks sake.

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With protagonists like these, you don't need any antagonists.

”[...] and that’s what an antagonist is.” ”So, one could say that you’ve now antagonised your teacher?” ”Fuck..”

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”[...] and that’s what an antagonist is.” ”So, one could say that you’ve now antagonised your teacher?” ”Fuck..”

With protagonists like these, you don't need any antagonists.

I feel like there is no way this can actually be true. Unless English isn't your teacher's first language?

The likelihood that your teacher solely trained in writing is low. I teach creative writing. I have also taught Drama, Dance, Performing Arts Technology, English, and Creative Design. My degree was in English Literature, some writing papers, Theatre Studies, Performing Arts, and Education. However I don't even recall my university lecturers ever bothering to use terminology that was super specific. Same with Theatre Studies - we didn't even go over the elements, conventions, techniques, and technologies. No one bothered to teach it and then Teachers College was shocked when we didn't know it (so we learned it then). Point being, your teacher probably has a massive span of general knowledge - or maybe isn't even a trained English teacher. There is a massive teacher shortage atm. I know America is really bad - NZ is also struggling at the moment too. If your teacher is passionate about their job and giving it their all... even if they don't remember/know all terminology... they are still a good teacher if they want to learn and welcome you telling them about terminology. If a teacher bites your head off when you correct them, that is not so great. We don't walk out of Teachers College knowing absolutely everything in our subjects. That would be impossible. We only train for roughly 4 years.

Then again, if I was teaching creative writing and I hadn’t specialised in it in college, maybe I’d read the text book recommended to students and learn some relevant terminology. OP is talking about creative writing 101 type stuff here.

The term antagonist is taught in 7th grade language arts, all the way until grade 12. It's not a super niche term.

HowAreYouToday 34

Shame that there isn’t more pressure on schools to provide better training for teachers...

OP here, didn't expect to actually get published! Backstory, it's a college Intro class that I have to take before I can branch off into the Fiction classes (it's my major with intent to teach Fiction writing myself at university level). My professor has a PhD in Poetry. The first half of the class was poetry, and this last half of the semester is fiction. The problem is she has no interest in seeing her fiction-oriented students succeed, and from her feedback on my stories, I'm fairly certain she's not even reading them from feedback like not being able to tell two different characters with different names were not the same person. But I digress. The student's story we were workshopping was about an nonathletic person going mountain climbing with his athletic friend, Charles. Charles spends the whole story pushing the protagonist forward and encouraging him, "You can do it!" and "We're almost there!" She tried to tell us Charles HAD to be the antagonist because he was the only other character in the story. So I called her out and told her the antagonist is whatever force that drives the conflict forward, as well as explaining the concept of Man vs Man, Man vs Self, Man vs Nature, etcetera. This woman is a college professor for fucks sake.

Oooo look! An update with subtext from the OP!

I learned the rules of antagonism in grade eight in high school, and she doesn't know after a PHD...

Oh my word, I hope you can talk to your Dean or something! Thanx for the backstory, tho it made me think FYL even more XD

Someday I hope that writers, or those who would like to become teachers of English, would learn when and when not to use "an" in a sentence.

Hey, Seymore. Thanks so much for your insightful comment! I will promptly abandon my entire degree and decade of practice because I made one typo on the internet that one time. Whew! That was close!

"an" is not a typo. The "a" and the "n" on the keyboard is quite far apart. A typo is usually a mix-up like tihs. I'm glad your degree and practice has paid off.

If it's really that irksome to you, I typed "an unathletic," which is the correct use of an, thought correctly that unathletic is not a word, changed it to nonathletic, and forgot to change the an to a. But thanks for immediately assuming I was too inept at the English language to teach it. Have a great day! :)

...how many of your FMLs have been published? I see your name quite often as an OP. Are you friends with someone in the company or something? :P

they say that those who can't make a living as an author become a critic or a creative writing teacher.

That’s disappointing.

Uh-oh! I think now you’ve become your teacher’s antagonist!

She's got a doctorate in poetry, but hasnt got respect for or knowledge of something she is supposed to teach. I don't think she should be teaching poetry, either, if she is like that.