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on more old memories

I just remembered that we read, as a class, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" in English class in FOURTH GRADE. And had a very serious and cogent discussion of it afterward, too. It wasn't until much later that I realized that one of my favorite short stories, "The Summer People," was also written by her.

Maybe the rest of my grade school education was grossly substandard and most kids get that kind of stimulation and learning all the time (actually this would not surprise me at all), but looking back on it, I'm kind of stunned that I read, understood, and discussed that story at age 7.


( 3 comments — Comment )
Dec. 31st, 2002 02:00 pm (UTC)
Mmm, 4th grade tends to be age 9, which is more reasonable, unless you were an advnaced kid to start with, in which case all bets are off.
Dec. 31st, 2002 02:46 pm (UTC)

Well, see, it was the early 70's, and this thing called "Mainstreaming" was all the rage. The basic idea was that kids were supposed to be average. If a kid was getting D's or F's, he got held back grades until he was getting C's. If a kid was getting A's, she got put ahead grades until she too was getting C's.

I got skipped ahead twice before someone, I don't know who, put an end to that nonsense. It was really bad for me, grade-esteem wise and in a bunch of other ways, too. It just about ruined me socially, which I didn't recover from until my late 20's. I have no idea how far they were willing to send me ahead or where I would have been so beaten down that I started getting the C's that they wanted.

So I dunno if 'all bets are off', but still, it was weird to be reading that kind of story in 4th grade.

Jan. 2nd, 2003 07:47 pm (UTC)
that's young!
I have a similar memory, though I am sure I was probably 11 at the time. Your post made me wonder how reading that story as a class and discussing it would have affected me as a younger kid. In the "smart kids" english class we had license to have raging arguments about such tangents that lasted for multiple classes.

In the 6th grade, we probably all understood at least the basic story, but some fraction of that time was probably spent giggling with my numbskull buddies about how it was totally rad that someone got whacked, even though I was initially shocked at the outcome. I recall that some people that were paying closer attention picked up on what was going to happen.

Now I want to see what Shirley Jackson has done. My initial googling found this:


( 3 comments — Comment )



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