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CRITIC ON ADVOCATE ESSAYS

H. R. Patch Adjudges Prize-Winning Contributions Fairly Meritorious.-Contest A Success.

By H. R. Patch g

The Advocate makes its appearance again, but, late indications to the contrary notwithstanding, it appears alone, un-merged, and sufficient unto itself. This number puts its strongest appeal in two essays-the winners of the first and second prizes of the Advocate competition. Perhaps the greatest interest in these essays lies in the fact that both of them are dealing with "local issues". Both are concerned with the cause of intellectual apathy among the undergraduates; neither of the essayists questions that this apathy exists.

In an essay which progresses evenly and clearly, Mr. Chubb searches for the attractions that have allured the undergraduate in other fields and tries to obtain those attractions for scholarship. For example, athletic sports have more sociability and dramatic appeal to offer; why not transfer these to the intellectual field? Mr. Chubb follows out this idea more cleverly, perhaps, than practically. His scheme would really come down to this: he would like the scholastic victor to be carried from the gridiron of intellectual contest on the (figurative) shoulders of his comrades amid the overwhelming cheers of a crowded (symbolic) stadium! Mr. Chubb knows very well he is only trying to strike the undergraduate in that "last infirmity of noble mind."

Mr. Dunbar's essay, with more variety of style but less skill and general finish seeks help elsewhere. Amid random shots at present evils that dishearten the poor undergraduate, such as bad lecturing, bad prescribed reading, and that abomination the "section-man" (!), he has at least one real suggestion-something not very distantly akin to the Oxford tutorial system. Even if treasures shine from the end of the road of scholarship equal to those which beckon men to athletics (to drive home the brilliance of the metaphor), it is extremely doubtful whether many worthy undergraduates will alter their extra-curriculum activities. It seems as if the undergraduate must be brought to know the pleasure of study itself, the actual exhilaration of intellectual "from." the sense of strength to be got from sound thinking. And it seems as if the best method of introducing him to these matters is to let him work under a trainer who knows his weaknesses and powers. In short, it is the old question of establishing intimacy between student and instructor. It takes men already intellectually alive, and not men bribed by hopes of undergraduate kowtowing, to arouse "a new public opinion that shall condemn of ostracize the laggard."

But all this is the business of Mr. Dunbar and Mr. Chubb. How far a field the reviewer has been let gives some idea of the interest of these essays. They will lead to many more discussions-a proof of the success of the essay contest, which is, incidentally, one promising method of fostering intellectual activity.

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