The most interesting part of Dante’s essay was not the essay itself, but the author. I found that I learned more about the underground essay writing business by the parallels that Dante drew by choosing his name rather than the material included in the essay. By picking the name Dante, referring to Dante from Dante’s Inferno, it appears that our Dante wants to be known as the person who shed light on this unholy subject of “paper mills”, just as the Italian Dante is known for depicting and describing, for really the first time in such detail, the horrors of the nine circles of hell in his Divine Comedy.
Furthermore, looking at Dante’s choice to write his essay as an exposition of the paper mill industry rather than taking an argumentative approach only deepens the parallel between the two authors. Dante’s Inferno is an exploration more than anything else. It takes readers on a journey through the hellish area where most people don’t want to end up, but the worst of us find ourselves in. The same truth holds current Dante’s exposition of the paper writing business. Students are told how to avoid this Inferno, but those who disobey those rules find themselves there.
After looking at just how similar the two works are, it becomes obvious that our Dante considers his work to be art just as Dante’s Inferno. Whoever the author of the underground essays is, he clearly tries to emulate one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. He believes that in one way or another, he is creating art. Most likely he considers his job to be acting. He wears many hats, and just as an actor, must fully embody his “character”, whoever the supposed author of the paper is.
Another position that he could be taking is that our Dante is trying to prove that he can write and think like one of the greatest literary minds ever to grace this planet. Before he retires, it seems fitting that he writes a piece that celebrates him. While explicitly saying how “smart” he is for doing the work of so many professionals, he also lauds himself by assuming the role of Dante Alighieri, the poet who wrote Dante’s Inferno. The work is a brilliant, multidimensional exposition. It subtly takes the shape of one of the most well known literary works of all time while advocating for unoriginality.
Furthermore, it seems that our Dante looks at his essay as a continuation of Dante’s Inferno. He believes his work is almost a reincarnation of Dante Alighieri’s piece, a modern application of the seven hundred year old text. While it may not be quite as poetic, Dante the essay writer looks at his work as a natural continuation of Dante’s Inferno.
While the Inferno provides insight into the hidden realm of its most powerful entity, in this case the church, the paper mill essay takes the same in-depth look into today’s most powerful institution: higher education.
While that may not be the most popular opinion, I challenge you to find another industry that has become so fundamental to a general well being that it can charge whatever it wants, and have a line of people out the door willing to pay it. The connection to general well being is the same pitch the Church used in medieval ages: if you don’t join, you will have a life of suffering. Now that may not be the exact words you use to describe the educational system, but that’s the point universities try to get across.
So looking back at the article, an argument can defiantly be made that an exposition of the educational system is a modern Dante’s Inferno. It has the power to change the entire educational system, but in its early days, it is swept under the rug. Only when we look back and see how right Dante was and use that to change the system of higher education, will we begin to recognize the true impact of Dante’s work, a modern continuation of a classic piece of literature.