Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Girl Reading", by Jean-Honore Fragonard


This coming year I hope to show my students that you can sojourn in a book instead of merely reading it. Sojourning in a book like Great Expectations means spending quality time with it, just as you would if you were visiting a special place. You would be relaxed as you make your way through the pages, but you would also be vigilant so as to not overlook a thing. You would try very hard not to rush, just as you would not want to rush when staying in a beautiful place. The word sojourn also implies that the book could become a “place of residence” for my students. Similar to staying in someone’s home for an extended period, my students, hopefully, will become comfortable with the characters, scenes, and ideas of the Dickens’ novel. Since they won’t be merely “passing through” the book, but actually residing in it for several months, it hopefully will become as well-known and memorable to them as a second home. In fact, I hope the students might be a bit reluctant to leave Great Expectations when we come to the final chapter. If you have visited an enchanting place and come to know it well, you might hate to depart, and perhaps the same will be true of my students. They might want to delay our departure from the novel, might tarry and linger in the pages for just a little longer. After our lengthy sojourn with Great Expectations, it would be wonderful to hear the students say, “Can’t we pleeeeeease stay with the book for just one more week!”

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