Wednesday, April 9, 2014

King of the Truands

“Nothing makes a man so adventurous as an empty pocket.”  -Victor Hugo, Hunchback of Notre Dame

Pierre Gringoire, the playwright, leaves Quasimodo and the Pope of Fools and wanders the streets of Paris.
“Do you know what friendship is?” he asked.
“Yes,” replied the gypsy; “It is to be brother and sister; two souls which touch without mingling, two fingers on one hand.”  -Victor Hugo, Hunchback of Notre Dame

Angry, sullen, confused at the world that has betrayed him, Pierre is captured by the very beggars who interrupted his play in the Palace of Justice and is brought before their leader, Clopin Trouillefou.
“A one-eyed man is much more incomplete than a blind man, for he knows what it is that’s lacking.”  -Victor Hugo, Hunchback of Notre Dame

Clopin is the King of the Truands...the leader of the beggars, vagrants, and cripples the city has discarded... he holds court there beside the fire.  In the underbelly gutters of Paris, Clopin's word is law.
“And love?” pursued Gringoire.
“Oh! Love!” said she, and her voice trembled, and her eye beamed.  “That is to be two and to be but one.  A man and a woman mingled into one angel.  It is heaven.”  -Victor Hugo, Hunchback of Notre Dame

I've been thinking a great deal about Pierre Gringoire, the playwright sentenced to hang by the King of Truands... pondering, just how do you make the toughest, most apathetic kids in the school listen to what you say, to feel, to think, to have something in their hands that is real?
“When you get an idea into your head you find it in everything.”  -Victor Hugo, Hunchback of Notre Dame

Me... this old beggar teacher?  Well... I started with wood, with the dirtiest most foul words scribbled and etched and burned and carved into the desks of my 60 year old classroom.  Then I put rough paper jagged as gravel into the hands of these boys.  I gave them stones and rags and polish and fresh air and showed them how to sand, to stand back and marvel at what hands can accomplish.  We started there.

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