Why SparkNotes is Heaven and Hell

The spring semester is winding down, and I’ve had to make a few last-ditch efforts at getting some work accomplished in a timely manner. What with April being the busiest college month in existence and my recent decision to add on more credits to my current load (currently 21…don’t ever do that. Ever.), I’ve been scrambling around trying to keep track of all the work I have to finish.

Like I mentioned in my deadlines post last Friday, I’ve got a pretty huge research paper coming up. And because of these new credits and all the extra work I’ve been doing, I’ve had to put that paper off for much longer than I probably should have.

And while I’m generally a huge advocate for academic honesty and the like, I needed a little help. Now, I don’t view using SparkNotes as cheating per se, because I wasn’t going to use anything from the site – I just needed a little spark to ignite my own idea.

And while I was feeling guilty about using SparkNotes – which ultimately ended up being for nothing as they didn’t even have an entry for the poem I was researching – I found it very hard to concentrate. I think you can figure out why…


A sample SparkNotes webpage. Also, my artistic talent exemplified.

SparkNotes is absolutely littered with advertisements and quizzes and polls for things which they must think their audience wants to see. Honestly, I just wanted to see a lengthy analysis of the poem I was looking for. Even if there are nicely written entries on the site, they become engulfed in a sea of Bieber with no chance of standing out to easily distracted procrastinators.

They do have some very well put together articles, I’ll admit. I’m not sure who writes these or analyzes all these works, but they do a tremendous job – probably one of the reasons why I tried going there for help. But if they actually want to help and not just appeal to an audience for traffic (note: advertisements are fine with me when they’re not overly distracting like these), then they need to focus a little less on hairstyles and a little more on literature.


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