In this open letter to Bob Dylan, Finnian challenges the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to sit an 11 Plus paper. He may have a way with words, but would the famous song writer's performance in a comprehension or composition exam secure him a place at Emanuel School or Wycombe Abbey?!
We are so pleased for you, Bob Dylan, and the fact that you have received the Nobel Prize in Literature at a private ceremony in Stockholm.
Our older tutors appreciate your poetic and highly spiritual lyrics. We admire your ability to be laid back and collect prizes when you are passing through on a tour, whilst realising that this might play havoc with Prize-giving Day at many of our schools.
We applaud your quotes but especially: “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” Bob, you have certainly made a career from doing what you want to do. Bob, you are a hero but would you pass the 11 plus entrance to Emanuel School in Battersea?
Admittedly, Whitgift uses poetry in its entrance comprehension and Wycombe Abbey demands a high level of understanding of poetic forms in the poetry section. But, Bob, the prose comprehension includes knowledge of foreshadowing and short sentences for drama as well as the poetic forms of metaphor and repetition.
So Bob, you have the prize for Literature and there are those who prefer The Sound of Silence but I have to offer you a challenge, as the holder of the Nobel Literature prize. This challenge is to write an essay within thirty minutes, ensuring it has a superior structure, figurative language throughout and demonstrates an emerging author’s voice. Your voice is famous but how does it engage the reader rather than the listener?
If, on your next visit to London, you would like to swing by and pick up a copy of the entrance examination paper, we would be delighted to see you at the office and we can provide a meeting room for you to sample the exam. Perhaps, we could save you the trouble and come to your home, not in person but through our Owl-On-Line tutors.
A Skype call, and Google Docs, would have you ready to go with one of our tutors to guide you through the process.
We would help you with your comprehension skills and turn you from a very successful poet and singer into a successful storyteller on paper. We are confident that you will have the same success as we have had with students in places you may know such as Monaco or as far away as Brisbane.
Bob, we admire you, we applaud you and we appreciate you, and we like the way you are chillin’ like Bob Dylan, if you will excuse the simile. But will you rise to our challenge?
You once said: “Gonna change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules. Gonna put my good foot forward and stop being influenced by fools.”
It sounds like you need to be influenced by a tutor,
Either in person or even on-line via a computer,
Obey the rules, take the entrance exam,
it may make you an even better man,
So we’ll leave your answer ‘blowing in the wind’,
but I am afraid our challenge, we cannot rescind.