[DWJ] Enchanted Glass

Sally Odgers sally at sallyodgers.com
Thu Jul 7 19:39:30 EDT 2016

My great aunt had some enchanted glass in her back door:-)

Sally Odgers

By the way... 
My usual work address is sodgers at iinet.net.au

The reason for theissally at sallyodgers.com one is that when I'm telling 
someone the address it's a far easier one to remember. 

Having a surname like Odgers (Rogers? Hodgets? Bodger?) is difficult 
enough without having people trying to get their heads around iinet. 
(Eye-eye-net? aye-aye-net? inet? eyenet?)

On Wed, 6 Jul 2016 19:51:54 +0000, "Stallcup, Jackie E"  wrote:

       Oh yes! All of these descriptions of glass are so evocative!

One of my projects now that I have a bit of time is to change out the 
window in my front door from plain glass to something like this 
Enchanted Glass. Ever since I read that book in particular, I've been 
wanting to do it and now I have found an artist who works in glass and 
can do a window sized piece... when I get it done, I'll send you all a 


-----Original Message-----
From: Dwj [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of D.J. Natelson via Dwj
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 11:39 AM
To: dwj at suberic.net
Subject: [DWJ] Enchanted Glass

Some months ago, there was a brief discussion about how a window of 
marvelous colored glass, reminiscent of that in "Enchanted Glass" shows 
up briefly in "Deep Secret."  But actually, there's an even more 
similar reference in "The Game" in chapter 6:

"It was a simple brick-built shed with a pointed roof, but when they 
came to it, Hayley was highly delighted to find that the top half of 
the door was of panes of stained glass, in nine different colours.  As 
Troy pulled the door shut behind them, Hayley saw Lucy pass slowly 
across outside, from thundery yellow, to stormy red, and then to 
twilight purple as she walked out of sight.  Inside, the old lawn 
mowers and the stack of deck chairs were in a sort of rainbow dusk.  
Troy, keeping hold of Hayley's wrist, edged them past the lawn 
mowers--and through some thick, dusty cobwebs that caught unpleasantly 
on Hayley's hair--and on into coloured twilight beyond. . . ."

On Wednesday, July 6, 2016 9:00 AM, "dwj-request at suberic.net"  wrote:

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Today's Topics:

  1. Re: long, long delayed discussion of teaching Hexwood (Amy Harlib)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2016 11:31:40 -0400
From: "Amy Harlib"
To: "Diana Wynne Jones discussion"
Subject: Re: [DWJ] long, long delayed discussion of teaching Hexwood
Content-Type: text/plain;    charset="utf-8"

aharlib at earthlink.net
Wow – I wish my English/Lit classes in high school were as 
interesting as yours!

In NYC, life long lover of all things SF & F and DWJ. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Stallcup, Jackie E
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2016 6:16 PM
To: dwj at suberic.net
Subject: [DWJ] long, long delayed discussion of teaching Hexwood

Hmm.  I wonder if the attachments made this post get rejected.  Here 
it is without the attachments.  If you want the syllabus, I'll be 
happy to send it to you... 

-----Original Message-----
From: Stallcup, Jackie E
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2016 3:10 PM
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
Subject: long, long delayed discussion of teaching Hexwood

My goodness DWJ-ers,

First, the list has been very quiet.  I switched over to my school 
email account because my juno account got hacked and is no more 
(sigh).  Then I didn't get anything at all for a long time so I 
thought I hadn't made the switch properly.  But then I did get a 
little spate of emails that trailed off again.  Where are you all???

Anyway, second, I am also now in a new position.  The last time I 
posted anything, I was English department chair, DROWNING in email and 
work.  I honestly don't know how I managed to survive.  Now, I'm 
"special assistant" to the Dean of Humanities, which means interim 
associate dean. While one might think that that is a harder job than 
being chair, it isn't, by a long shot.  I actually have my life back, 
sort of.  One result is getting to go back to the very bottom of my 
email pile and finally FINISHING things. 

One of the things at the bottom of the email pile follows.  I believe 
that I started writing it in August 2013.  How time goes by...  I was 
delayed from sending it by wanting to incorporate some notes from a 
couple of students regarding their notes from the discussion.  I now 
finally have time to do that, on another hot afternoon, albeit one that 
is in July 2016 rather than August 2013. 



Hi everyone,

I have been so overwhelmed that I haven't had a chance to fill you in 
on how our class discussion of Hexwood went last year.  Martha has now 
prodded me twice (thanks Martha--much needed!) I am going to take a few 
minutes on this hot Friday afternoon to write up some notes about it. 

To start with, as long time dwj listers may recall, I have tried 
teaching several of Jones' novels with mixed results.  Dark Lord of 
Derkholm in particular required a lot of refining of my lesson plans to 
teach effectively, but I learned some really interesting things in the 
course of doing so.  (did I tell you guys about that already?  I 
don't know... I know that I talked about the disaster that was the 
first time I taught it...  but perhaps not the later experiences). 

Last fall, I got to teach a graduate class called Childhood and the 
Fantastic.  I can't remember why I decided to do Hexwood this time 
instead of Dark Lord (now that I had finally figured out how to do Dark 
Lord!), and as Martha said when she heard:  "WHAT WERE YOU 
THINKING???"  Yes indeed!  I think it was because I knocked the 
Hobbit off the reading list, which paired up so well with Dark Lord.  
In its place I put The Hunger Games and that just seemed to go nicely 
with Hexwood, if I remember correctly.  I've attached my syllabus in 
case you are interested in looking at it.  As you can see, the last 
three weeks of the class were Hunger Games, Ender's Game and Hexwood, 
thought of as sort of linked in various ways. 

One thing that I did to set up the discussion was prepare them for 
Hexwood to be a tricky read.  Both Hunger Games and Ender's Game are 
far more straightforward and conventional (as I'm sure you all know!)  
They are both compelling reads that make you forget that you are 
reading.  So I had to make sure that they knew that Hexwood was going 
to be a little bit different experience.  So, two weeks out, I told 
them to be sure to leave time to read it twice--that that was an 
absolute MUST.  Then the week before our discussion I told them that 
they HAD to come to class prepared to discuss Hexwood cheerfully (even 
if they were puzzled).  No complaining, no whining!  And I gave them 
the carrot of not having to meet during finals week if we had a great, 
in-depth discussion of Hexwood.  I think this intrigued them and it 
also warned them not to enter the reading with slack minds. 

One of the interesting things that always happens in a class is that 
discussions tend to gravitate toward certain themes and ideas.  
Students seem to pull out particular themes, so that while I might 
teach mostly the same texts, the conversations and the "through-lines" 
for the course are always different.  Around week 12, I had the 
students get into small groups and identify the main ideas that they 
saw cropping up throughout the course.  Then they got onto 
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__wordle.net&d=CwIGaQ&c=Oo8bPJf7k7r_cPTz1JF7vEiFxvFRfQtp-j14fFwh71U&r=ChQZV9av_IvNDkzIpngwUsKJilpddbhq0EMuEXqohmY&m=URCORjdkhbKYaX6D3_vNQ__JN6rPjeY4rW8tJ1qEaak&s=_EGB5Tfj4PUozMMhHqbig5lmIs30Nqjte-LyOtNhnfw&e= and made word clouds that showed what ideas were most prevalent.  We talked about these in class and then I used these to structure the last few weeks of the 

With all of that in mind, I thought you might find it useful to see how 
I introduced the discussion of Hexwood on the last day of the semester 
(see below). 

> From that intro, I (as usual) turned it over to the students to come 
> up with the main elements in the text that we would talk about for 
> the day.  Much to my relief, they had plenty of things to talk about 
> and were cheerful and eager to put stuff on the board.  From there, 
> I put them into small groups to talk over the issues they had 
> identified and off we went. 

Now, here's one of the reasons I've taken so long to write this up for 
you all. Of course now you probably want to know WHAT we talked about, 
right?  Agh! I don't know!  I don't take notes in class so once the 
discussion is done, it's gone.  I can tell you a few things that I 

Among the things that I was very interested in examining is how Jones 
disrupts our narrative expectations with her characters.  My favorite 
example of this is Orm.  I find it incredibly, horrifyingly creepy the 
way that his eyes twinkle.  For most writers, that's simply a 
narrative shortcut that says "hey, this is a good guy." (Dumbledore's 
usual descriptions are a good example of this kind of... well, I don't 
want to just call it narrative laziness, but perhaps narrative 
conventionality).  I wanted them to think about how Jones develops our 
sense of who characters are and what they are capable of in 
unconventional ways. 

Given that violence loomed so large in many of the texts that we read, 
we discussed how it functioned here in ways similar to and different 
from the other texts that we had looked at (particularly Ender's Game 
and The Hunger Games)

And here are some notes from students that, while unformed, give you a 
sense of what we talked about:

Student one:
Control/power authority
Morphing identities
Agency/free will
Performative nature of existence
Bannus as a fiction maker
Own your past/pain and use it
Our experiences pile up/create a schema
Looking back at a path to look forward; many things impinge upon us and 
we have to look back to understand Destiny vs performativity

Student two:
Novel questions reality
Dismantles the assumptions of fantasy; dismantles the conceptions of 
Images of disease
Clothing acts in the same way that names do:  creating new/different 
characters, creating confusion and disrupting the narrative Ending is 
not neat and tidy; it assumes a harmony, but does not give satisfying 
closure Most students in small group who didn't like the book had 
problems with the ending, not the plot twists

Student three:
Anti-essentialist depiction of existence and the performative nature of 
the self Post-modern, nonlinear narrative structure, with considerable 
temporal shifting and alternate realities depending on dominant point 
of view Expanded boundary of self-consciousness Bannus attempts to tie 
up loose ends but the forest itself rebels, wanting to create its own 
new mythology in order to continue playacting

Intro to Hexwood discussion:

Put on board and discuss:  "Every new beginning comes from some other 
beginning's end."  (semisonic). 

So, our class is coming to an end, but you are already looking forward 
to next semester's classes.  As I was thinking about Hexwood, and the 
other books that we've read this semester, and this being the last 
class, I was thinking about cycles and circularity.  One thing that 
I've learned is that I can teach the same course many many times, and 
every time it is a different course.  The texts may be the same, and 
you all may be students that have taken classes with me before, but 
every class becomes its own entity.  Every set of students make up 
their own course from the given texts. 

We started to talk about this two weeks ago as we made our wordles and 
thought about the discussion topics that stood out in looking back.  
And last week, with Ender's Game, I thought in particular about how 
violence seems to one topic or thematic thread that this particular 
course and this particular set of books has highlighted. 

So, as we conclude today, we are doing so with a book that is famously 
ambiguous-in MANY ways, of course, but particularly in relation to 
beginnings and endings.  So I want to start there with our discussion 
of Hexwood.  And I would like to segue eventually into considering 
openings and closing of all of the texts we have been looking at. 

Finally, and it may or may not end up being related, I want to consider 
what we have identified as "big picture" questions or ideas.  One that 
occurs to me as particularly fruitful (and I want to tell you now so 
you see what I mean and can have it at the back of your mind as we 
talk) is one that we identified last week:

"What price victory?"

When I mulled that over in relation to Ender's Game, I realized that at 
some level, it really applied to Hunger Games as well.  And then I 
realized that in a modified form, it applied to a lot of the texts: 

What price.... [fill in the blank]. 

So, as we talk, let's think about this particular idea, or other big 
picture ideas that you can identify. 

Oh and here's the email that I sent off to the students prior to our 

Hi everyone,

Two things:

First, this is just to confirm what we discussed last night:  Since we 
are all caught up with the reading and we have already started the 
"wrapping up" discussion, we can go ahead and NOT meet on December 17 
on TWO conditions:

1.  you come to class on December 10 prepared to discuss Hexwood 
cheerfully (even if with puzzlement). 

2.  you come to class on December 10 prepared to branch out from 
Hexwood so that our discussion touches upon other reading from the 
semester and comes to some kind of graceful conclusion.  Come to think 
of it, that's a very appropriate way to use Hexwood.  We'll just 
pretend that we have a Bannus whose theta-field has grown to encompass 
all of the semester. 

If we have a good, rousing fun discussion on the 10th, we'll call it a 

Second, Professor Wightman just sent me this link, which is an Amazon 
review of a book written by an old college classmate of hers.  The 
review is ... well, apropos of this course.  I thought you should see 
it.  First, here's a link to the book itself:


And here is a link to the review:  Enjoy!


Dr. S

P.S.  Goodness, I'm going to miss our class after next week!

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