This is the "Overview" page of the "VERSES: Marks by Linda Pastan" guide.
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VERSES: Marks by Linda Pastan  

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Read by Kiley Olson, Class of 2013



On a normal grading scale, one can earn either an "A", "B", "C", "D", or "F", ranging in levels of competence of the material.  However, the idea of pass/fail gives the "student" either a pass grade or a fail grade. To earn a pass grade, one must understand and complete the materail thoroughly enough to prove that they should pass the course.  Those who earn a fail grade do not comprehend enough of the material are not able to pass the course.  There is no in between; there is no average or "C" grade.  Either the student passes or they fail.  Since the daughter gives the mother a "pass", it shows that the mother is well enough at her maternal position in order to pass and not fail at her job.




By Linda Pastan

My husband gives me an A
for last night's supper
an incomplete for my ironing
a B plus in bed.
My son says I am average, 
an average mother, but if
I put my mind to it
I could improve.
My daughter believes 
in Pass/Fail and tells me
I pass. Wait 'til they learn
I'm dropping out.


"Average" Mother

A mother who is considered average would most likely provide her children with necessities such as clothes, food, and shelter.  Also, she will talk with the kids sometimes and find out a little about their lives, but an average mother is not extremely involved in her children's lives and is not especially caring and loving.  She will give them the essentials, but she doesn't go above and beyond to go to their ballet recitals, attend their football games, or volunteer to chaperone for a field trip.  She is basically there to make sure her kids survive and move on to be successful in life, but she doesn't have an especially close connection or bond with her children.


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