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By Shirley Marchalonis

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The president would like to get rid of her, a point possibly based on fact: Dr. " 30 There is a scientist, a dedicated teacher who provides a sterile, clinical haven for a few students who glorify facts. But in contrast are faculty members such as Miss Allison, an incompetent, uncaring English instructor, whose careless grading of exam papers and refusal to admit she has made a mistake cause one talented potential writer (who in earlier fictions would have won admiration for her ability) to leave, and who justifies her role as teacher by being the confidant of the priggish, complacent head of student government.

The idea of thinking that there isn't time enough later on for men," sniffed Babbie, playing with her engagement ring. ''The idea of thinking that she won't change her mind about men and most other things, while she's here," added little Helen Adams, with a comical air of vast experience. 6 Babbie's words as she plays with her engagement ring sum up the attitude toward men, romance, and marriage in these stories: there will be Page 142 time afterward for these to become the most important elements of a young woman's life.

Phi Beta Kappas are narrow, smug memorizers of facts, and student government leaders are mindlessly complacent conformists. Though there is no main character in the novel, Crosby the poet is a kind of central point; the lives of the others swirl around her. In the context she is a tragic figure. The perceptive outsider, Sophie, says that Crosby is being hardened: "defiance takes from her reverie, philosophic thought, spontaneous sympathy" (334). And Helen, a friend since their first year, "remembered the poet's early gaity, sweet and light.

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College Girls: A Century in Fiction by Shirley Marchalonis


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