Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reading Things Fall Apart, not sure if kids understand

We are reading Achebe’s Things Fall Apart these days, I guess because I think it’s interesting to always have a part of your imagination in still another place. As we were getting started, I kept trying to translate the Ibo words into commonsense equivalents the kids would know, like an obi is the man’s central hut and his chi is like his guardian spirit. But the book has overwhelmed us with unknowns that don’t have any ready comparison to things the kids have seen before. So we are plowing ahead, and they are picking their toes, zooming paper airplanes while I read. Sometimes I stop and ask Yoshi what does he think is going on, and he surprises me with a sudden snapshot. They’re bargaining with goats and palm wine for the bride. So I keep on. We read and read on into the night under the steady hum of our fan with bags of frozen vegetables tucked up our shirts.