Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Breathing


I've made some lovely headway on To Kill a Mockingbird and, although I suspect I'm not to the main part of the story yet, I'm enjoying it immensely.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that Atticus Finch was homeschooled:
"I could only look around me: Atticus and my uncle, who went to school at home, knew everything--at least, what one didn't know the other did."
Everything is about education and yet I'm surprised by how much time Lee focuses on teaching and learning even within the first 100 pages. That the young teacher would discourage Scout from learning at home - to read or to write (and, I note, that print wasn't writing ...) surprises me. I've heard of such things happening even today, but never witnessed it myself and it still shocks me.

I was one of many kids I knew who went to school knowing how to read. My grandma tells how she gave the same book (Little Bear. I still love Little Bear) to me and my two older cousins for Christmas when I was 4 or 5 and I sat down and read the book while they looked at the pictures. Reading has always been a part of what I remember doing.

Perhaps that's why today's quote jumped out at me:

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."


I suspect many of us appreciate breathing more than this implies ... and many of us love reading more than this implies. But to a young child for whom reading is a part of the everyday, commonplace activities of the family culture - reading can be taken very much for granted.

Until, like for Scout, the threat of losing it seems very real and a reader finds himself in a vacuum.





1 comment:

  1. We're on the same wavelength I guess - I have a To Kill A Mockingbird post today too. :) Masterful book. I had read it in high school, but recently re-read it and it resonated with me on a whole different level than it did 20 years ago.

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