beginning with connections, as we so often do…

Connections: Ch 1 (not to be suggesting that jerking through novels only by chapters is the best way to model “real reading”, it’s just working as a starting point, and hey, we gotta start somewhere and we sure as hell don’t all start with perfection, so back off (sorry, talking to myself there)) – my symbol for coding the text with a connection is X, by the way.

I think some of my guiding questions for this reading are to figure out more explicitly some ideas around the questions “WHY do i like this story?” and “WHY do i care?” and “WHAT makes me care?” (with thanks to Chris).  Making connections will help me relate myself to the text to answer these questions.

“The thing…”
Not a very significant X but one that helps me understand the comment all the same: p7, Bella thinks of “The thing” as having potential as a nickname for the old truck.  To understand what she means and how this could apply to the truck, I have draw on my prior knowledge of “the thing” as it is used to describe horror movies or monsters or creepy beings in horror movies.  Doing that helps me visualize a zombie like, creepy, possessed inanimate object with it’s own motives.  This helps me grasp the tenor of the conversation a little and makes it more “real”.  That’s a lot of words to describe understanding two words.  There you have it.

“Forks High School had a frightening total of only three hundred and fifty-seven — now fifty-eight — students”
p9 I notice that it helps me to make a connection to my own high school experience and population here to better undertstand the last paragraph where Bella is reflecting on the population of Forks High School.  I also inferred here and my connection is useful to that, but I will cross-post this.  My own high school had 1000 or so students which seemed massive to me, and still does (contemplating any gathering of 1000 teenages is pause-worthy), so putting Forks and it’s 358 student body alongside my prior knowledge helps me understand that Bella sees this as very tiny and problematic.  This itself if inferential, but anyway.  It also helps me to draw on my schema for small communities too, so I can better understand what she’s saying about grandparents having been toddlers together.  Similarly on p 12 I am drawing on my knowledge of Northern Ontario highways and towns to relate to her comment that the school, like most other things in town, was just off the highway. IIIIII know what she’s talking about!  Not a big connection, but also helps me visualize Forks.  I have seen similar places.

“For some reason, my temper was hardwired to my tear ducts.  I usually cried when I was angry, a humiliating tendency.”
p25  I thought “Me too!” or maybe more frustration, on my part, but close enough to make me empathetic and engaged with this girl, again. Also related is a connection on p 10 I notice I am making connections to Bella’s self-image, when she describes humiliating herself at sports (totally me).  This helps me to generate some empathy for who Bella is, and increases my engagement with her personal story, since I can see a little of myself in her.

So far…. making connections and using my prior knowledge has helped me get engaged with the character, visualize the setting and understand events better.  This is good to know.

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