Invariably, when people ask me what I teach, and I answer "Composition," I seem to receive immediate sympathy. After the sighs of pity, the conversation drifts off into various lamentations about the pathetic state of freshman composition. At this point, I try my best to slink away; if I said anything to disagree, they would not hear of it. So, why torture myself. But the time has come for me to admit that I do believe that students can write, think, talk capably, and generally put together a meaningful representation of their ideas and feelings.