A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a story with my eighth graders. I wanted them to focus on characterization; how do we learn about a character? When we were about half way through the story, I stopped and asked, “Okay, what do we know about this family?”
“The mom is depressed,” one student replied.
Puzzled, I asked, “What makes you say she’s depressed?”
“Well, she likes to drink a glass of wine and look at the moon,” the student explained. “That’s not normal.”
“I’m not sure what’s so abnormal about that,” I said. “The moon can be pretty. Can’t she just be enjoying the beauty of the moon?”
“But she gets drunk!”
“It doesn’t say she gets drunk,” I retorted. “She has a glass of wine. You don’t get drunk on one glass of wine.”
My students did not believe me. One of them said, “Well, it depends on your tolerance level.”
I answered, “I have a low tolerance, but one glass of wine does not make me drunk.”
“Depends on how big the glass is,” a third student muttered.
At this, I just had to sigh, roll my eyes, and move on.
And that night, I drank a glass of Muscato and went moon-gazing.