Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Lady or The Tiger

“In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished… were florid and untrammeled…” -The Lady or the Tiger

I tell the kids it doesn't matter what he choose, which direction his princess lover led him to... whether she thought to grant him happiness or kill him off so that no woman could have him... what really matters, is what the story says about you.
“When a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance to interest the king…the fate of the accused person would be decided in the arena…” -The Lady or the Tiger

Oh... they weren't having it! Not by a long shot. This story sent them upside down, these young 7th grade kids demanded to know... what did he choose.
“Directly opposite him, on the other side of the inclosed space, were two doors…” -The Lady or the Tiger

I'm not budging either... imagination is much stronger than reality... and the classroom is the perfect magical place for this discussion.
“As the youth advanced… he turned to bow to the king… his eyes fixed upon the princess…” -The Lady or the Tiger

Instead, I tell them how marvelous it is that someone wrote a short story, just put words down on the page, that were so powerful they actually had a physical effect on someone... that the kids were actually furious over this story, livid... that they felt punched in the face... and even more angry that I said it was good.
“If he opened the one, there came out a hungry tiger… which immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces…” -The Lady or the Tiger

That's what art should do to us... it should hurt sometimes... and believe me, do you know how hard it is to convince this to thirteen year old kids who live off junk food and stay up all night playing video games...? Yeah, impossible.
“But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth from it a lady… and to this lady he was immediately married…” -The Lady or the Tiger

But that's life, isn't it? There is never a clear answer, never a true path without some kind of pesky thorn patch to cut up our shins... but whatever you believe... hope or depravity... I wish you well in your choice.

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