Friday, May 23, 2008

The Headmaster

J turned around in class and asked why we were reading Roald Dahl's The Headmaster. I couldn't tell him exactly, not yet, because he had to read it first and try and make something of a deduction himself.

When I was as old as he is now, I had read Matilda's pseudo-serious grotesquery very seriously. I lost all niceties directed at adults. I wanted to be exactly the smart, clever, conniving, remorseless rambunctious kid that could deal with the Trunchbulls in my life.

The beating, antipathetic headmaster in The Headmaster proceeds to become a bishop. The beaten, berated kid is mortified.

How would these kids deal with the information? That the monster needn't necessarily 'fall'.

Be angry and repressed and tortured? Be maudlin and disappointed? Or come to realize that any or all progress only lies in being able to work, very hard, to live through overcome the vitiations of the monster - be not the broken abused, but the burgeoning recovered?

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