All-College Writing Contest


All-College Writing Contest Winner 2003-04

Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 2003

Author Comments

Though I had little prior knowledge of his work, I chose to analyze Herman Melville’s collection of short stories, The Piazza Tales, for Professor Gallagher’s Nineteenth Century American Literature course. The main goal of our assignment was to identify the author’s attitudes toward various aspects of nineteenth century American society, but with Melville this proved a daunting task. I discovered what most appealed to me was his ability to present layers of meaning within seemingly simple stories and to obscure the significance of many elements until the very end, where the conclusion often presents a key to the larger truth. I found these stories were actually more fun to analyze than to read!

According to my father, a writer and soon-to-be English teacher, writing is in my blood. Since I’m already an English major, whose jobs and extra-curricular activities all revolve around writing, I suppose he’s right. Of course the writing process is often painful—I enjoy brainstorming and editing far more than the actual writing—but I am also occasionally pleased with my results. For example, I liked writing this paper because it forced me to synthesize so much information.

Faculty Advisor

Bernice Gallagher



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