We’re reading cultural mythology right now, along with myths and legends. After the initial reading of “Racing the Bear,” a student asks me, “Do you think this is how they meant for it to be read?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, in a classroom with lights on and everything. It sort-of feels like reading the Bible on a toilet.” ‘
We briefly discuss how one’s environment shapes what people read. Then he suggests, “We should create a cave so that it’s all dark and then read the story by a fire. Yep, this story definitely needs a fire.”
I wish I could do something about it. I wish I could run with his suggestion. Instead, we’ll work on sequencing the plot, understanding the cultural values, comparing it to other literature and defining vocabulary. Somewhere in the mix, if we can let the story sink in, we might just catch a glimpse of the fire. But for now, the story will bathe in the flickering fluorescent lights.