Thomas Hardy (was: Re: survey results, part 1)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Jan 5 23:02:31 EST 2000


On Wed, 5 Jan 2000 16:56:53 -0500 , McMullin, Elise wrote:

>	Melissa commented on Tess:
>
>	"I think she's also giving Angel a second chance to finally be a
>good person, the slimy jerk."
>
>	Now I remember how Mrs. B. (the teacher) tied her whole thing
>together.  Angel was the Christ figure (oi) and you know, hung with the
>miserable sinner and so on, and in the end she like recognized her
>unworthiness of the mercy of her savior thus commending her sister into his
>hands, an unselfish act, showing a recognition of all this on her part.
>It's nice to realize it all was truly mindboggling.

Well, I just finished re-reading it this afternoon.  Until today I was
willing to give your teacher at least a little credit.  Now I'm convinced
that she was seriously warped.  There is absolutely no justification for her
reading.  Less than none.  You know that last little bit, when Tess is
asking Angel to take care of her sister (poor kid is named 'Liza Lu)?  It's
all about keeping her safe and how she's just what Tess was like before she
met Alec, and Tess wants Angel to love her and care for her and give her the
chance that Tess didn't have.  There's nothing about guilt or "oh I'm so
terrible and evil and impure" or crap like that.  It's touching and sad,
because Angel is essentially being asked to take on this responsibility for
a girl he hardly knows.  On his part it's practically an act of penance.

Anyway, I know I'm going on and on...good book.  Great book.  Your teacher
was a nut.

>	"I took my first literary criticism class when I was twelve, taught
>by
>> an excellent teacher who NEVER told us what any of our books meant.  I
>> didn't realize how good this was till much later."
>> 
>	That's a great teacher.  If you know where that teacher is, I
>encourage you to write a letter of thanks if you never have - just for being
>a great teacher.

I wrote to her when I graduated from high school, just before I went off to
college.  She was retired by then and sent a nice note back to me.  It was
just--I got to that point, and I had just spent four years going through the
Texas educational system and had won all these honors and things, and all my
teachers were taking credit for teaching me--but the truth was I learned
just about everything I needed to know about reading from Mrs. Simone.  Not
only the basics of reading, but that there is something worthy in books of
all genres--not just the traditional classics.  The difference between
something solid and true, and something that's merely entertaining but
leaves you unmoved.  She genuinely respected and loved every student she
taught, not just the brilliant ones.  I remember entering her class and very
nearly dropping out because I was afraid that in learning to read critically
I would stop enjoying books.  And it's true that there are some books I can
no longer enjoy.  But that's more than offset by what I gained in the
process.
>
>	"See, your interpretation was a good one!  But it sounds like (from
>your
>> other post) you didn't have much choice other than to shut up.  I hate
>> that.
>> That's not teaching, that's indoctrination.  And there's never been a
>> teacher who couldn't learn something from the students."
>> 
>	Mainly my school experience was along these lines - memorization and
>parroting back.  As anybody can tell from this list  ;), I am constantly
>misplacing specifics and going vague.  It was he**.  I remember we had this
>ridiculous test on Pride and Prejudice, which I must have read at least 10
>times by then, and one of the questions was - "How far was it from the
>Bennet's house to Meryton" (or whatever the town was).  This test was to
>"prove you read the book."  It's mentioned in one line, once, when the
>Bennet girls first walk in to town.  My teacher's comment, "If you read
>every line you should know that.  You probably skimmed."  Argh.  lol, it's
>very good to not be free of that.

Let's see.  I've read _Pride and Prejudice_ about, um, well at least fifteen
times in the last ten years, and I can't remember that distance.  My reply
is:  if you're reading just for nitpicky facts, you probably didn't read the
book at all.

Aren't you glad it's all over?

Do you even have the remotest question about why I'm homeschooling my
children?

Melissa Proffitt
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