Friday, January 06, 2006

Sometimes The Sun Comes Out

Thanks for everybody who threw a title or two my way. I'm going to spend some time at the library purusing this weekend.

In the meantime, in my "high" class -- only three years behind! Yes! -- we started The House on Mango Street, and the kids were rocking. Massive hands in the air, good reading, questioning, etc., etc., all oh so very rare in your average High Point B class. We discuss similies and metaphors, the way Cisneros leads us toward conclusions without giving us clear answers, and we come across this one: "I am a red balloon, a red balloon tied to anchor."

"Think about balloons. What do they represent."

Freedom, they say, flying, floating, being free, happiness, parties, carnivals.

"But it's tied to anchor."

Yeah, they say, it can't fly, it's being held back, held down.

"By what?"

Her house, her family. The neighborhood, the people in it, being poor. They keep her from going the places she wants and doing the things she dreams of doing. She wants to be free and fly like a balloon, by instead she gets pulled down by jealous people or lazy people or just bad luck.

Some quiet then, and one girl says, She's still the balloon though. It's still inside her. She can get away from the anchor.

I let that one kinda hang there for a few minutes, then they put their folders away and go to P.E.


Blogger posthipchick said...

Ah, what happens when we give our students real literature, instead of this scripted crap.

4:14 PM  
Blogger leyla said...

my only issue with that book is that while it is beautiful for similes and metaphors, she is the mistress of incomplete sentences..and it made me have that stupid "once you've mastered the game, you can change the rules" discussion with my kids and i hate putting forth that viewpoint..

6:19 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Yeah, I hear you. I rolled with that one a little bit, backing the argument up with a demonstration of you are supposed to drive when you're just learning vs. how you drive once you've learned how to cruuuuuuise -- which, shocker, went over pretty well.

I also just talk about it as a function of fiction; most of what we write is expository non-fiction.

7:52 PM  

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