On Friday, my students read a chapter in Graff and Birkenstein's They Say / I Say. In the chapter, Graff and Birkenstein suggest that writers "also need to avoid sounding like a lone voice in the wilderness" (58).
One of my students asked for an explanation.
Isn't it weird?
First, I'm pretty sure most of my students profess Christianity (I didn't ask), but none of them made a connection to John the Baptist.*
But more than that, Graff and Birkenstein are trying to warn students that taking a stand totally alone might be unwise, and that they should think hard about whether their position is something they can justify with good reasons.
In John (the gospel), though, John the Baptist is right. He's absolutely correct in predicting that there's a messiah coming.
So wouldn't you want to be the lone voice who, like John the Baptist, is right? I guess it's just that of all the ways to warn students about taking a stance all alone, that's one where the character is absolutely right (within the context of the text). They should have chosen a different way to say that, no?
*Sometimes an individual student will repeat something they seem to have heard in religious contexts, but their lack of real knowledge about what they're saying bothers me. It's not like I think I need to live my life based on precepts I don't share, but it would be a lot less irritating if they actually knew what they were talking about in a real way.
Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say / I Say. New York: WW Norton, 2007. 58. Print.