Silence Dogood Essay 4: "Sir, Discoursing the other Day at Dinner with my Reverend ..."
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The fourth Silence Dogood essay, appearing in the 7-14 May 1722 issue of The New-England Courant, ponders the value of a college education. Silence Dogood recounts that she asked a clergyman, "Clericus", for advice about sending her son to the local college (Harvard College). Then she describes falling asleep and having a lengthy, fanciful, and symbolic dream in which she travels to a magical, faraway land where even ordinary people were prepared to send their children to "the Temple of LEARNING," but many of the students were "little better than Dunces and Blockheads" and struggled to ascend the difficult steps. Those that did manage to depart the temple (and graduate) had no guarantee of success. Dogood was critical of the parents:
I reflected in my Mind on the extream Folly of those Parents, who, blind to their Childrens Dulness, and insensible of the Solidity of their Skulls, because they think their Purses can afford it, will needs send them to the Temple of Learning, where, for want of a suitable Genius, they learn little more than how to carry themselves handsomely, and enter a Room genteely, (which might as well be acquir'd at a Dancing-School,) and from whence they return, after Abundance of Trouble and Charge, as great Blockheads as ever, only more proud and self-conceited.
To examine the entire newspaper, please see the online display of The New-England Courant, Number 41, 7-14 May 1722.
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