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|CM LD? (longish)
Written by Katy B
(4/1/2006 10:46 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Is Catherine LD?, penned by BarbaraB
I agree with others who say that JA probably just meant her to be "normal". I see your point, though, especially in the lines in Chapter 1: "She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught, and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid." This seems a rather cruel assessment!
I read on the NA board yesterday or the day before an interesting post that the author portrays CM to be quite different in this beginning narration than what she actually was when we see her interacting with her world. After reading this, I went back to reread Chapter 1 in preparation for this Group Read and thought that the narrator was quite negative about CM. Are these things true, I remember wondering, or was this meant to be a satire on society in general's point of view about a girl like her?
I work with LD students and one thing many of them have difficulty with is picking up on social clues. However, as we will see in later chapters, CM is rather good at this, or at least, she has good "gut" feelings and is a quick study. (I found myself cheering for her strength of mind and values after having begun with this initial portrayal of her! - Perhaps this was JA's intention).
I also work with "normal" elementary school students, and know that they often have trouble paying attention, especially for long periods. Much of the learning in those days was probably rote memorization. Who wouldn't be inattentive when there were far more interesting things to do than memorize something from a book? Later, CM becomes a voracious reader, when she finds something she likes and is mature enough to understand the value of reading. I was the same way as a kid - devouring books that interested me, but unable to get through the ones that didn't.
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