An English professor at a small US college admits that half his job is killing students' dreams—dreams that they can write, think, or even form a sentence, he writes anonymously in the Atlantic. Yet more American jobs require college credits, and his role is to force Joyce and Faulkner on these aspiring professionals—even if "their eyes implore: How could you do this to me?"
Complicating his pain is his belief in the system. Invisible Man may not make a future cop less racist, he admits, but "I can’t shake the sense that reading literature is informative and broadening and ultimately good for you." And night students are so profitable for colleges, administrators don't care how many he fails. "I am the man who has to lower the hammer," he writes.