". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Readaloud Dilemma

We finished The Adventures of Tom Sawyer today. Yes, it took us a while. We savor our books. :-)

Here are a couple of pictures I took of Evan and Willard while I was reading. (Notice who is on the blanket. Willard loves readaloud time.) The second picture captures the moment they turned to look at me after I took the first one.

Back to our readaloud. Today Tom and Huck found the robbers' hideout, along with their supplies, and--let us not forget!--the treasure. This discovery led to a discussion of robbers and their practices, as Tom and Huck made plans to inaugurate their own prepubescent gang of criminals. (For those who have never "met" Tom Sawyer, it is probably good to interject here that Tom's boyish imagination knows no bounds.) The conversation covered the important points of killing all the men but being gracious toward the women--so that they will fall in love with you, of course--and then wrapped up thus:

"Now less fetch the guns and things," said Huck.

"No, Huck--leave them there. They're just the tricks to have when we go to robbing. We'll keep them there all the time, and we'll hold our orgies there, too. It's an awful snug place for orgies."

At this point Evan broke out into loud, sustained laughter punctuated by repetitions of the sentences "We'll hold our orgies there!" and "It's an awful snug place for orgies!" Finally the guffaws subsided and he turned to me and asked, "What's an orgy?" I continued reading.

"What's orgies?" [said Huck].

"I dono. But robbers always have orgies, and of course we've got to have them, too. Come along, Huck, we've been in here a long time. It's getting late, I reckon. I'm hungry, too. We'll eat and smoke when we get to the skiff."

Such is the adventure of reading aloud. Sometimes you stumble on things you're not quite expecting (even if you've read the book before)! I told Evan that an orgy was kind of like a party--but a party where people get carried away and eat and drink too much, so not a very nice party. The problem with this definition (which is not incorrect) is that it excludes the more common modern usage of the term, the one everyone thinks of when he hears the word. But I don't want to tell my child that meaning yet! Which, of course, opens up the possibility that he'll decide to show off his new word at a less-than-opportune time. Oh, Tom, dear Tom--you just love complicating things, don't you?

No comments: