Current/Recent Reading List

22 November 2006

A Little Light Through the Clouds

"'Tis too much!" she added,"by far too much. I do not deserve it. Oh! why is not everybody as happy?"

We've actually had a "Nor'easter" hit us in N.C. the last two days, and the rain, wind, and flooding were bad enough that school was called off today at 11:00.

We also bid adieu today to Lizzy, Darcy, and the good-hearted Jane, for whom no one could resent her happiness. And here at the end, with the final Pride and Prejudice test, and the last video of the mini-series, out of the way, I found that for one of my kids there is, perhaps, an even deeper bonding with the novel than I could imagine.

I've mentioned before that I have a delightfully glum little curmudgeon girl in my Honors class who loves to tell me all about who and what has annoyed her that day. When I had these same kids last year, it was easy to see that she was one of the two or three outsiders in the group, but she put on such a brave face about it that I never worried about her much, and I've felt the same this year. She does have friends, and she behaves herself, unlike many kids who are not in the dominant Honors clique. She does, however, miss numerous days, and shows little motivation to make up her work. Flat out, she has told me that she doesn't care about her grade - though when she's in class she does really top-notch work. I don't know much about her family, but they are not wealthy and perhaps a little on the wild side.

Well, yesterday I found out that she has been diagnosed with clinical depression, and went to see a psychiatrist yesterday afternoon. On top of my sympathy for her condition, I felt like an extra heel because she really seemed distressed yesterday while we were taking the test, and left her last essay question a little incomplete, which I urged her not to do a couple of times (turns out she still made an "A"). By last night, my worries about ranged from "Is she suicidal?" to "Is she going to keep coming to school?" to "Do I not talk to her enough because she is quiet and the more popular kids always grab my attention?"

Happily, she was in class today, and seemed to really enjoy the end of the mini-series. I sat by her some of the time we were watching it (hope I wasn't too obvious) and we chatted for a while about the novel afterwards (she finished it well ahead of most of the class). Thinking about it later, I realized that she was the type of kid who might easily be drawn to the plight of the Bennet sisters, particularly Lizzy, who is smarter than her peers but not considered a prize by those of high status.

When I told the kids they needed to turn their novels back in next week, she told me that she really wanted to keep hers, and she might not bring it back. And I was struck with a compulsion I've only had a couple of other times: I thought, "I'm going to buy that girl her own copy of the novel." And so, this weekend I believe, I will.

It will be a tough road for her, I'm afraid, but one day, I hope she'll mirror Jane and ask, "why is not everybody as happy?"

Happy Thanksgiving ya'll!

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