TIME でリーディングを、CNN ENGLISH EXPRESS でリスニングを鍛えている。いずれライティングとスピーキングも何とかしたい。
7 Questions に答えるのは、自閉症の作家・東田直樹である。記事はメールでのやり取りを英訳したもの。感動的な話もあるが、引用するのは独特な感性が光っているところ。
What’s your favorite number?
I’ve never really thought about my favorite, but if pushed, my answer would be 3. The number 1 is the most important. It feels like proof that something is there. Then again, 0 is the most amazing discovery. The concept of nothingness is proof of human civilization. After 1 comes 2 in order of importance. The number 2 lets us divide things and put numbers in order. These three numbers (0, 1 and 2) would have been sufficient. As a number, 3 is enchanting. It was created even though it wasn’t needed. Perhaps it was born out of creativity? (p.52)
For instance, one of Nel’s favorites, Charlie and Chocolate Factory, has a big problem in the Oompa Loompas. The characters, which were depicted in early editions as African pygmies, are portrayed as happy slaves, content to leave their native land behind and toil in a factory. (p.50)
So should parents abstain from reading offensive classics to their children? “ I would respect the parent who made that choice,” Nel says. But on the other hand, “There’s also a reason to read them with children, because racism exists in the world. Children are going to encounter it, and a safe way to learn how to encounter it is via fiction. If you’re reading a racist children’s book with a child, you can help them read it critically, you can help them learn that it’s okay to be angry at a book.” (ibid.)