McSweeney’s: The Samuel Beckett Grading Scale

This is great. From McSweeney’s: “My grading scale for the fall semester, composed entirely of Samuel Beckett quotes

Whether or not mediocrity is in fact the norm, I rather liked “C” on the grading scale —


“We wait. We are bored. Confusion amounting to nothing. Despite precautions. The confusion is not my invention. You must not think of certain things, of those that are dear to you, or rather you must think of them, for if you don’t there is the danger of finding them, in your mind, little by little. A disturbance into words, a pillow of old words. All life long, the same questions, the same answers. The churn of stale words in the heart again. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. This tired abstract anger; inarticulate passive opposition. I pushed and pulled in vain, the wheels would not turn. How hideous is the semicolon.”

Perhaps I’m the only one who had this problem — but if the quotes seem familiar-ish, but you can’t quite put your finger on it, it’s because the whole thing is a (clever) goulash of many, many Beckettisms from the plays, poems, and other fictions.

(For “F” I would have added: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”)

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