Sunday, January 31, 2010

Intro to "The Word"

In this novel, author Susan D. Blum, hopes to answer many questions in regards to Plagiarism and how it affects college students. In class on Friday we came up with a lot of great questions in regards to what the word Plagiarism really means, and to what extent is something such as a piece of writing, words(speech), or work of art that is not properly cited is considered to be “cheating”. We also came up with logical answers to why students Plagiarize, and a possible solution to stop “cheating” at the college level. So what is Plagiarism? Susan Blum describes it as, “improperly taking someone else’s words”. (pg.10) But is it more than that? The answer is YES! The word Plagiarism is such an intricate word, with many meanings and complexities.

Because this word is so difficult to analyze, I think the author’s sole purpose is to come up with a solid overall definition of it. As well as, showing differences in student’s of different cultures understandings of this word, and knowledge of it now than before. This word has been a around for a very long time, but the meaning I think, as well as the author, has changed and developed with time. We first learned what Plagiarism was when we were just barely learning how to write. But levels of knowledge have changed, as well strictness of it as an adult and college student. What I found very interesting is how the author explores this term and tries to unpack its meaning step by step. She doesn’t point it out as an issue because it’s obvious that it happens and will continue. Instead she tries to evaluate various cultures and how they each learned about Plagiarism, as well as other factors such as education level, as well as tuition costs, work, and more.

I think the author has a very clever structure in developing her novel. I am looking forward to what kind of data and statistics she will built up. I am also looking forward to learning reasons for this issue, her knowledge of it and her personal opinions of it. I think it’s something that is very important in regards to writing, as well as reading, and I think it needs to be addressed.


  1. I also like the way Susan Blum structures her book. When thinking about plagiarism, I didn't expect there to be so much gray area.

  2. Good observation -- I agree that one of her main goals, at least here in the intro and Chapter one, is to "unpack" the meaning of plagiarism. She's a cultural anthropologist, and that's something that social scientists often do; we know that meaning is socially constructed, so while words may have generally accepted meanings, they also have a lot of nuances when we look at them closely.