An English teacher at Brisbane Girl’s Brisbane School for Grammar (located in Brisbane), Miss Kelly Carmen-Smith, was shocked when reading through a Year 12 English short story, as she noticed an alarming similarity to a short story submitted three years prior.
The suspicions of Carmen-Smith were raised when school captain Gretel Sharpe’s short story began with the exact same opening line as her tutor, who attended the school a few years ago. ‘I couldn’t believe it was happening. I was finally here. I could feel the tension in my stomach, resonating deep inside me.’ This bland introduction was the exact same used by Elizabeth Barnes, 2015 Academic Captain, and known tutor. Reading on from the opening sentences, Carmen-Smith was sickened to discover even more similarities between Sharpe’s and Barnes’ efforts.
2015’s ‘A Stroll Apart’ tells the tale of young Scottish girl Emily as, in the space of 1500 words, she battles her inner demons while she is followed by a strange figure in a journey through a park which alludes strongly to the poem, ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,’ culminating in the poetic and insightful reveal that the shadowy figure is, in fact, her estranged father.
Interestingly, ‘A Walk Adrift’, by Sharpe, tells the tale of young Danish girl Sophie as, in the space of 1500 words, she battles her inner demons while she is followed by a strange figure in a journey through a small, inner-city forest area which alludes strongly to the poem ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,’ culminating in the poetic and insightful reveal that the shadowy figure is, in fact, her estranged mother-in-law.
Deciding the similarity could only be a coincidence, given the esteemed reputation of Sharpe, Miss Carmen-Smith exclaimed “What a coincidence!” loudly in her office. “This year’s story is so familiar to the one I gave an A- to 3 years ago, only as if it’s been edited and improved with the benefit of hindsight,” she said to The Obiter.
“And then I discovered Elizabeth Barnes has been tutoring Gretel for a year now! Wow, I’m no maths teacher but that must make the coincidence number marvellously high.”
Turnitin received a 0 percent match, which was strange, considering the repeated incorrect usage of the word ‘obsequious,’ and the fact that when viewed as a PDF, each word in ‘A Walk Adrift’ was separated by a white full stop in size 2 font. Weird!
More to not come gentle, into that good night.