06 02 2015
Analysis Essay of “The Shadow Scholar”
On November 16, 2010 Ed Dante’s published essay called “The Shadow Scholar” in The Chronicle for Higher Education received more comments than any other article ever published by the chronicle. He exposed the actuality behind his writing career working for a company that allowed students to pay for, and receive tailor-made essays on any subject for any degree level. Dante explains that “In the midst of this great recession, business is booming.” (Dante 473) In a serious, yet sometimes humorous manner, Dante brings to light his thoughts on why this form of cheating needs to be discussed, and his essay is meant to “initiate a conversation.” (474) The initial reasoning behind his confession is to make administrators, teachers, and students aware of what is happening to the academic foundation of higher education, stating that students “need help learning and, separately, they need help passing their classes. But they aren’t getting it.” (Dante 474) He uses his position to inform the readers of the significance behind the defiance of most students today when it comes to the importance of higher education, and how easy it is to earn a living off of their laziness and incompetence, The knowledge of Ed Dante is quite extensive about the cheating process, but his attitude towards institutions is quite unfair. Though his real name is unknown, Ed Dante is the stage name of the man behind the knowledge. He works for the company responsible for allowing students to cheat for a price, and refers to himself as an “academic mercenary.” (Dante 473) His way of exposing the realities of the truth behind his job title come off as sarcastic, yet informative. He approaches his audience with not only what seems like sympathy for some of the students that he comes across; such as the “ESL and hopelessly deficient” (Dante 475), whom he states “colleges are utterly failing” (Dante 475) , but also gratitude for the others whom he refers to as the “rich, lazy kid,” (Dante 475) for paying his salary. His knowledge of his profession makes his accounts credible by giving the reader an informative explanation of his job title, all while sarcastically hinting his unpleasant feelings towards institutions referring back to his own college familiarities, stating that his “university experience did not live up to its vaunted reputation.” (Dante 478) Dante expresses a sense of unfairness when he explains that he is “planning to retire,” and tired of helping teachers “make [their] students look competent.” (Dante 474) In that statement he puts a lot of the blame on the teachers, rather than the students for their need to cheat which seems like he allows his feelings to get in the way of the facts.
The audience that Dante was intending this essay to be focused toward are the teachers whom fall victim to this business. He reaches out to the administrators by drawing them in with the question, “Do you ever wonder how a student who struggles to formulate complete sentences in conversation manages to produce marginally competent research? How does that student get by you?” (Dante 474) In doing this, he brings to light how simple it can be to catch the cheating person, as he means that teachers are not paying close enough attention. When Dante wrote this essay, his main goal was to inform the colleges, teachers, and students of not only the wrong doings of students, but also what he feels to be the wrongdoings of administrators as well. He focused closely on a student who contacted him about an essay on business ethics. In his supporting statements he quoted the girls emails verbatim, showing how she couldn’t even conduct a grammatically correct sentence, through means of a simple conversation. He referred to her communication techniques as a form of “haiku.” (Dante 475) Earlier in the paragraph he focuses toward the administrators and explains that they would be “amazed by…