Watching Red Bull Rampage while Grading Student Essays on Pericles’ Funeral Oration




Damien, bro, you make a good start here but your essay lacks sufficient analysis of Pericles’ claims about Athens. I was super stoked on your opening paragraph about the context of the speech, and you absolutely crushed your explanation of his rhetorical choices, given Athens’ need to continue the war.

But you crashed hard in your supporting paragraphs. No doubt adrenaline was pumping and you must have been scared shitless of blowing the most important features of your argument. I think you over-rotated on paragraph two, simply re-stating your argument rather than supporting it with evidence. I mean, yeah, Pericles says that no Athenian is hindered from advancement by poverty or the “obscurity of his condition,” but do the facts support that claim?

I know the grade is a bit of a bummer, but that’s how history class rolls, man. You can’t clear every line every time at this level; you gotta dust yourself off, pop your shoulder back in and open another Word document.

Grade: B-



Dude! Nick! Your first sentence was unbelievably rad and had amazing flow.  You totally captured the appeal to the audience of Pericles’ stirring tribute to Athens, to democracy, and to the men who died for their city. I thought to myself “this kid is going for it! He’s not holding back!”  Then you lost speed and ate it on the thesis statement. Granted, this was a super gnarly assignment, requiring both explication of the speech’s claims as well as contextual analysis. But that’s why this is elite-level expository writing, man.

Brah, I don’t know what got into your head; maybe you crashed on an earlier attempt and it messed with your mojo.  Maybe you just weren’t feeling it today. Whatever, brother. But you can’t answer a question with plot summary, that is just super sketchy.  I know what Pericles said about Athens, dude. What you needed was some deeper-level analysis of the veracity of the speaker’s claims, but instead you totally cased it.

Remember that time at Crankworx last year when you barely saved that first landing, but it messed up your speed for the rest of the run? Man, if you don’t have a cogent thesis, there’s nowhere for your argument to go. I gotta say, Nick, this was one of the gnarliest, most brutal fails I’ve ever seen.

Respect for the send, though, amirite?

Grade: C-



GIRL. It is so awesome to see a lady shredder ripping it up at this level! You completely owned your analysis of Pericles’ claims. Those were some gnarly moves, bringing in documentary evidence of slavery and the subjugation of women in Athens to destroy Pericles’ assertions about equality.


(Sorry, got caught up in the crowd stoke there).

Dude, I was worried in your second paragraph when you began with an analysis of the speech’s aesthetic appeal, which was so not part of your task. You totally saved it, though,  flowing right into a critique of the speech’s purpose. Girl, when you deployed the word demagoguery there, it was like next-level shredding.

Way to stick the landing and represent the ladies!

Grade: A+


Photo Credit





One thought on “Watching Red Bull Rampage while Grading Student Essays on Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s