RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Biology

Dissecting Pigs VS Dissecting Poems

Back in when I was in grade 11, I was under the false impression that taking Biology was a good idea. It wasn’t. Towards the end of the year, we had to dissect fetal pigs. I, of course, was the kid who didn’t even bother putting on rubber gloves. Because I was the kid who spent the period curled up on a chair, cowering in the corner, breathing (as little as possible) through my mouth, with my face towards the wall. Needless to say, I do not intend on pursuing a career in medicine.

Then some moron (read: teenage boy) thought it would be a good idea to cut off his pig’s nose and flail it around in front of me. He was very much encroaching on my personal space and I was terrified that he’d touch me with that disgusting, smelly, drippy thing, which was in very close proximity to my face. So I reacted as maturely (read: femininely) as I knew how. I kicked him in the stomach (I was high up on a lab chair, so his stomach just happened to be what was in kicking distance — he’s just lucky he wasn’t a little bit taller). It certainly made him go away. He even apologized and the next class he assured me that he wouldn’t do anything like that again. I obviously made quite an impression.

I have photographic evidence of this experience, but I don’t want to look at those pictures again and I assume you don’t either. Photo credit:

The reason for this outpouring of  a (clearly traumatic) experience which occurred a year ago, is that today I’d like to explore some of the differences between dissecting a fetal pig and dissecting a poem. I like to think of it as a highly analytic and empirical study in contrast, if you will.

Dissecting Pigs

Dissecting Poems

The fetal pig was killed/never even given the chance to be born, so that you could learn from it.

The poem was written, therefore given life, so you could learn from it

Learning from the fetal pig means desecrating and butchering it, especially if your partners are stupid teenage boys. Once a fetal pig has been (sometimes literally) torn to shreds, there is nothing you can do to save it.

Learning from a poem means taking it to a higher level and giving it new life. Even once stupid teenage boys have ruined a good poem, it is not dead. There’s nothing a good English teacher can’t revive.

Once a group of kids have learned by dissecting a pig, no one else can learn from that pig.

There is no limit to the number of people who can learn from the same poem.

Pigs die when people learn from them.

Poems die when people don’t learn from them.

Two more thoughts that are unrelated to the previous train of thought:

Pigs smell like formaldehyde and dead pig.

Poems smell like paper, which is a good thing. Or like the books they’re located in, which is a super good thing. Or, in the best circumstances, they (psychologically) smell like the lilacs or forests or freshly cut grass they’re describing.

All pigs are more or less the same. Everyone learns the same thing from every pig.

Every (good) poem (ideally) has a new, fresh, original message, or at least expresses an old message in new, fresh, original ways. And everyone can perceive and understand each different poem in their own way.


In conclusion:

Dissecting poetry is better (and more awesome) than dissecting pigs. The End.

(Note: This is mostly tongue in cheek. I see the value of learning science and I am totally not  one of those weirdos who refuse to eat meat. If you are one of the weirdos, that’s totally cool, I am just not one of you. My qualm is not so much that animals die to be dissected, it’s that most of the kids in my class were very “disrespectful” to these animals and I think that the exercise (and  the pigs lives) are potentially wasted on high school students who don’t know how to behave themselves.)

%d bloggers like this: