Instruments of Darkness

p 6. “A woman in her early thirties perhaps, neatly dressed and at some expense…her gloved hand rested easily on the reins and her hair was a dark red, curled under the edge of her riding hat.”

Once more, my students come to mind.  As noted previously regarding my broken self-promise to read only “classic lit” this summer, I recently completed my inagural Robertson mystery (I look forward to her series with autumnal anticipation).

Ah yes, my students… set in England during the reign of King George, I was tentative about this referral. My usual literary fare, whether mystery or other genre, is not this time period.  I know nothing about it – food, dress, mannerisms.  My ignorance was an epiphany.  Being a “visual” learner, it was difficult to “see” my characters, settings, and the nuances in mannerisms.  While the story line is compelling and easily enjoyed without the benefit of detailed knowledge, it remains a personal imperative to understand these variants – to educate myself in these matters. Simply put, I cannot place these characters in my mind’s eye, and so they drift like ghosts from page to page.

To the students — how do they cope with such a vacuum of visual knowledge when reading such a wide variety of literature from Macbeth to The Lord of the Flies? It is impossible to study all of history that corresponds to the breadth of middle school literature. When, where, and how do they find this information to support the reading?


Robertson, Imogen. Instruments of Darkness. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print.

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  1. Pingback: Theft of Life – LIBRARIAN ALONE

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