Thursday, January 29, 2009

Annabelle Lee: A story of love and plagairism

For those of you who don't know me very well, I can be a huge procrastinator or slacker. Especially in high school, I was very lax about reading my homework. Why this is, I don't know, because I love to read. Teaching high school was sometimes problematic because I had to read all of the stories and books I never read when I was a freshman.

There was one time when this really came to bite me in the butt. Since it's such a silly story, I will recount it here.

When I was a freshman in high school, I dated a junior boy. He is a very nice guy and we are friends to this day.

But when we were dating, he was a hopeless romantic and often gave me notes and poetry and other things. Half the time, he would jot down song lyrics and present me with them.

The song lyrics I usually could pick out because they were often ripped off of well-known sappy love songs or popular songs.

The poetry, however, was not always that easy to pick out.

Case in point: One day he presented me with a very long poem.

It started:
"It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Stacie"

And went on (and on) from there.

So I'm reading this poem. And I'm getting more and more confused because, not only is it a little dark, but it also is off a beat or two. I mean, I guess it was good, but that rhythm problem was kind of annoying. Being a student of junior high angsty poems, the darkness wasn't nearly as problematic (even though I appeared to die at the end). I soon forgot about the rhythmically-challenged poem.

Fast forward two years. I am now a junior. I walk into my Acc. English class and sit at my desk. I flip open the tome of American literature that we used for junior year and began to quickly scan the poems we were assigned the night before.

Why does this seem so familiar? I thought to myself as I read this incredibly depressing Edgar Allen Poe piece. "I was a child and she was a child,/In this kingdom by the sea." Where have I heard this before?

Oh. My. God.

"OH MY GOD!" I exclaimed out loud to everyone in my English class. My teacher, startled but non-plussed, looked at me as I buried my head in my book and started cracking up. The class paused. My face burned red. Tears of laughter were swimming in my eyes.

"Jarrod said he wrote this," I gasped, laughing. "Changed Annabelle Lee to Stacie. That's why the rhythm was off. Oh my God!"

The class, especially since everyone including my teacher knew Jarrod, started cracking up, and my English teacher even threw back her head and had a hearty chuckle.

As seniors a year later, we recounted for our English teacher (the same one) our favorite memories from English class over the last three years (she taught us sophomore through senior year).

The plagiarism of "Annabelle Lee" came up quite a few times.

1 comment:

dtjunkie said...

Definitely one of my favorite Stacie stories....