professors who sleep with their students, and they are all men. Real-life
English professor Timothy Carens comments on this trend in his paper
“Serpents in the Garden: English Professors in Contemporary Film and
Television.” Carens describes the admiration students in these films feel
for their English professors by stating, “the figure revered for his
supposedly worshipful readings of literary deities looks somewhat
different from the perspective of those who themselves desire to read,
know, and interpret” (11). It makes sense that students at some
collegiate institution, who are there to gain knowledge and analytical
insights, would look up to and admire their English professors, who
already hold these insights at a professional level. Throughout his essay,
Caren repeatedly refers to the “pedagogical authority” professors hold
and the “inevitable tension in the English classroom between the
expectation of open-ended interpretive freedom and the fact of
pedagogical authority” (12). In courses such as English, which
encourage subjective thinking and the existence of more than one
correct answer, it is interesting that our educational system still finds a
way to objectify these topics by electing a figure—the English
professor—to determine whose work is “right” and whose work is
“wrong” through a grading system. This paradoxical “tension” deepens
the English professor’s authority and assigns him an even higher rank
in the eyes of his students, who fervently seek his approval and requited
admiration as a means of academic success. That is an immense amount
of authority to give to an individual in charge of shaping the minds of
young adults. Due to Hollywood’s dramatic impulses, it makes sense
why screenwriter and directors would only include characters with
corrupt and selfish intentions to hold the reigns of this power.
This brings us to the third characteristic of Hollywood
professors who pursue sexual relationships with their students: the
bruised ego. Many professors in movies are unhappy with some
fundamental aspect of their lives. For example, Hank Evans (Peter
Krause) from We Don’t Live Here Anymore and Dave Jennings (Donald
Sutherland) from Animal House are both struggling authors who view
teaching as a fallback career or a symbol of failure. Similarly, Bernard
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