The Gift Won't Stop Giving
We had a moment in my department this week that made me channel you all and love you more.
A Debate kid of mine (call her Katie) is reading Night in her English class. All the English II kids read Night. It's the only book that all of us choose to teach. So her class, an honors section, is reading it now.
The book affected her. She had to stop at page 74 and evidently got so upset she threw up. She told my friend, her English teacher, and asked for an alternate. She came to me for sympathy. I told her the same thing my friend told her. Hang on, there's redemption at the end.
Somehow, that didn't seem like enough. That night, I thought about literature that demands reaction. I thought of so many reactions we shared this summer. I remember reacting to Lady MacDuff, reacting to Ariana's Gertrude, to Brutus, to Hamlet, I could go on forever.
I was so proud to hear from Katie the next day. She finished Night. She found the redemption, she was ready for the call to arms that I am proud we teach with this book (can you really teach the Holocaust in this time without discussing Rwanda or the Sudan?). I told her so, and when I did, I heard your voices in my head and remembered reacting to so many powerful words.
I think more of Katie now and I got to tell her that day. I think more of people who let themselves react to literature because I am that person too. I am more that person today than I was a year ago and I hold very dear the fact that when I read Shakepeare's words, I will remember reacting with you.