Friday, September 23, 2005

Donald Murray

I'm reading Donald M. Murray's Learning by Teaching: Selected Articles on Writing and Teaching for Tuesday's doc seminar. I had read his book about his daughter's death two summer's ago: The Lively Shadow: Living with the Death of a Child. I read it because it was by Donald Murray. I decided to do a quick Google Search on Murray. I don't know why, I guess these days I just do that, and I came across an archive of his articles that are published weekly in the Boston Globe. I clicked on this article because I saw that it referenced his daughter's death and teaching. When I read the article, I saw glimmers of a connection between his words and our discussions in my class Rhetoric of Emotions. I want to pull one part specfically to look at:

We are all teachers.

It took me a while to understand that profound truth when we lost our daughter 28 years ago. I will never forget the thoughtfulness of our friends and neighbors, but one thing bothered me. They repeatedly asked me, ''How are you doing?"

I felt that they were really asking, ''How would I do if . . . ?" I was focused entirely on Minnie Mae, Anne, Hannah, and myself. Why did they want me to speculate on how they would do?
I finally stepped back and realized they saw me as a teacher. I had lived their worst fear. What could they learn to do or not do from my example? How could they survive as we appeared to be doing?

Connections from readings:

"The man whose sympathy keeps time to my grief, cannot but admit the reasonableness of my sorrow" (Ch. 3)

"That we often derive sorrow from the sorrow of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it . . . " (Section 1, Ch. 1, para. 1)

"Grief and joy, for example, strongly expressed in the look and gestures of any one, at once affect the spectator with some degree of a like painful or agreeable emotion" (I.I.6).

I want to make some more connections to our readings. Do you have any ideas?

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