Monday, May 19, 2008

Pursuing Passions (part 2)

In 10th grade, we were reading "The Adventures of Huck Finn," one of those required reading things. The teacher was actually pretty understanding of the fact that this was not a book any of us would choose to read for fun, so she departed from what was the norm in previous grades. Instead of assigning us multiple chapters to read by a certain date (and then the whole class cramming right before class starts) she took time each day and had the class read out loud. This was popular, since it meant no (or at least very little) homework, so nobody complained.

In Huck Finn, there one of the characters is a slave named Jim. Now, being a slave, he was uneducated, and Mark Twain saw fit to write Jim's dialogue with lots of apostrophes and missing consononts. Jim's dialogue read as an uneducated black man of the time would have sounded. So, when reading Jim's part out loud, many of my classmates had a great deal of difficulty reading his lines.

I remember one day in class, reading ahead as usual, with my finger marking my place. Suddenly I hear a girl named Kim saying, "Oh, this is too hard. Have LadyCiani, read it. She's better at it." From then on, it somehow became my job to read out loud when other people were having difficulty with Jim's dialogue.

Maybe I should have been resentful of gaining extra work, but all I can remember is feeling relieved. Now I wouldn't have to listen to people butcher the story any more!

And I guess that's what it comes down to. I love stories so much, I'll read most anything. Give me a good book, and I'll plop myself down in a chair and not see the light of day until it's done.

No comments: