As I write this post, it’s International Women’s Day, which is both a good and a not-so-good thing. If everyone in the world spent an entire day thinking about issues relating to women (education, health, environment, economics—pretty much everything) that would be great. But then again, think about it: do they have “CEO Day,” or “Take Your World Leader to Lunch Day?” Nope. Commemorative days (weeks, months) belong to those who have been, historically, pushed to the margins, which means we should all be crossing our fingers that eventually this day will be obsolete.
Yesterday in class, I was talking with my college students about Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, a book that I loved as a child (I was Meg Murry, people, except for the whole genius-brother and time-travel thing). When I’ve taught this novel in previous semesters, students—male and female—generally like it, but not this term. “The ending—all that love, love, love—it’s totally cheezy,” complained one student.
You remember the end of the novel, right? Meg’s little brother Charles Wallace has been absorbed into IT, the huge brain that controls everyone on the planet Camazotz—a nightmare of totalitarianism fueled by Cold War fear. Meg realizes that the only weapon she has against IT’s strength is the love she bears for her brother and so, yes, she stands in front of IT and “loves Charles Wallace.” When I read this section, I get a little choked up, but my students apparently are made of sterner stuff. (more…)