Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

A great book, folks, I think you'd all enjoy it. There's something for everyone, Shakespeare, cross-country runners, Rodents of Unusual Size, diagramming sentences, and wow, it's funny and deep and moving all at the same time. Let me set up the quote below for you. Our protagonist is named Holling Hoodhood, indeed, he is named Holling Hoodhood. And he's a seventh grader in 1968. On Wednesday afternoons, half of his class goes to Hebrew school, and half of his class goes to Confirmation classes. As he is the only Protestant in his class (and they don't have anywhere to be on Wednesdays) he's stuck with his English teacher, who decides he should be spending his time studying Shakespeare. He's fairly certain his English teacher hates him.

" Mrs. Baker hates me.

She hated my guts.

We spent the afternoon with English for You and Me, learning how to diagram sentences -- as if there was some reason why anyone in the Western Hemisphere would need to know how to do this. One by one, Mrs. Baker called us to the blackboard to try our hand at it. Here's the sentence she gave to Meryl Lee:
The brook flows down the pretty mountain.
Here's the sentence she gave to Danny Hupfer:
He kicked the round ball into the goal.
Here's the sentence she gave to Mai Thi:
The girl walked home.
This was so short because it used about a third of Mai Thi's English vocabulary, since she'd only gotten here from Vietnam during the summer.

Here's the sentence she gave to Doug Swieteck:
I read a book.
There was a different reason why his sentence was so short--never mind that it was a flat out lie on Doug Swieteck's part.

Here's the sentence she gave me:
For it so falls out, that what we have we prize not to the worth whiles we enjoy it; but being lacked and lost, why then we rack the value, then we find the virtue that possession would not show us while it was ours. "

1 comment:

jean said...

holy cow! diagramming sentences AND shakespeare all in one book? I'm IN!