What They Don’t Know

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.

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