Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Personal Connection

A year ago this time, I was regaling you with the long story of our trip to Italy. I have been thinking a lot about this trip, since it was such a wonderful experience, and we are at that point (an anniversary) when the human mind tends to reflection. In addition, I am currently reading Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence, which takes place in Renaissance Florence (and 15th century India, as well). It is an enjoyable read, thus far, and far more accessible than I expected (I'd never read Rushdie before), but the most exciting aspect right now, for me, is his description and mention of places in Florence that I have seen with my own eyes.

I always spend some time discussing with my students the strategies that good readers use. One of the primary strategies in comprehending and enjoying any text is making a personal connection, finding something in the text that you can equate in some way with your own life experiences. As I read the first section of the novel, which takes place primarily in India, I was making connections, but, for the most part, those connections were between the text and some other text I had read or seen, but, once the story shifted locales, the novel has taken off. When Rushdie writes of the burning of Savanorola in the Piazza della Signoria, I can picture the square exactly as I saw it (and imagine the Dominican monk horridly en fuego in the center of it). It is a vivid reminder of the power of personal connection and a pleasant stoking of the memories of a place that I hope to one day visit again.

1 comment:

AMVB said...

I've never read Rushdie before either but would like to get to The Satanic Verses, which we have. Good to know that his writing isn't as inaccessible as I feared it might be.

The burning aside, one of my favorite things about the towns and cities we visited in Italy was the piazzas. I loved them ! and wish that we have them here. You know, rather than shopping malls. Though a public burning in a shopping mall sounds not unlike something that we might witness on a reality show.

Ugh, look where my personal connection has taken us! Sooo ugly. Let's go back to the piazza, shall we?

Enjoy remembering and reflecting.