The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Studying Lord of the Flies with my bottom set thirteen year old boys is rapidly degenerating into a real life dystopia.
They're eager as rabid squirrel-babies to do well, but haven't twigged whereabouts the didacticism in the text emanates. While reading the first chapter, the boys decided that if they were stranded without adults on a desert island, they'd like to vote autocratic Hitler figure Jack as leader. Narrowly avoiding a sizeable vote for the Mengele-like charms of Roger. Ralph was obviously boring.

Today, pint sized James, who leaps about the room with the exact facial expression of a hyperactive Bat Boy, warmly enthused about the joys of chapter two, when the boys stole Piggy's spectacles to make fire, accidentally burning up little Percival Wemyss Smythe in the tribalistic ritual.
James had investigated the technique, utilising a magnifying glass, strong sunbeam and a large snail. He was most proud to report back to all his eager listeners that when the sunbeam was steadily focussed upon said snail, his hypothesis was more than equalled: as the snail turned black, then exploded.
"It is true," James squeaked excitably, "I have the black snail shell in my pocket! It's all slime!"
The other boys' gleaming eyes and gasps of delight told me all I needed to know about what homework they'll choose to do this afternoon.

I'm beginning to really fear for the potential response to the murder and mutilation of Simon and Piggy's characters.