"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Monday, March 31, 2014

Me and Precious

After everyone telling me I'd bawl for hours I put off reading Push. I just didn't have it in me to cry so much. But because I hate being surprised, I read the synopsis on Wikipedia when the movie came out (side note: it is how I decide if I want to see something, especially if it's sad). But I loved the book and I only cried a little (yay for being pro-spoiler!). Here are a few observations:

I thought it was really interesting how she became more aware of her situation, as well as her own possibilities, as her literacy level increased.

It was subtle, but I loved how Sapphire made her "writer," Precious, become better with spelling and grammar as the novel wore on. Because Precious WOULD get better as she wrote more and more.

Is Blue Rain like, the most perfect person ever? She totally seems like it. I am very sensitive to these things, but I hope Sapphire didn't make her a lesbian so Precious could see her as less than perfect.

I was not prepared for all the uncomfortable sex stuff, but she seemed to work through that in a similar fashion as she did everything else. Before, she did not have the knowledge or vocabulary to express what was really going on, and then, after the incest group, she realized she was not alone and you could tell she understood what she felt was shame.


  1. Thanks a funny question, Melissa, about Ms Rain being a lesbian. My take on that is it likely paralleled some real-life story or stories Sapphire drew from. But it also gave us a chance to see Precious come to terms with her own prejudices--toward lesbians, "crackers" and even black men (p. 69 at top). I wonder though, if we might consider these examples of transformation as some of the narrative fictions Michelson talks about? Would we have empathized with Precious if she remained hateful toward lesbians till the end? On the other hand, why would transformations be less possible than persistent bigotry in real life? Hmmmm. :)

  2. Melissa, I agree that Precious's gradual mastery of conventional spelling and grammar succeeded not only in underscoring her literacy gains occurring in the narrative, but also revealed Sapphire's artifice as an author. Although, I really had a hard time "getting into" the novel the first time I read it because of the language barrier (I bet this is how many students feel about reading standardized-English), I eventually got used to it - much the same way I eventually got used to Huck Finn. Also, I see much of this novel drawing from Sapphire's personal experience - she was sexually assaulted as a child, and she is bisexual. It's always difficult to speculate about an author's intentions, and I haven't read enough interviews with Sapphire about Ms. Rain so I won't. I will say though, that I appreciate her counter-narrative to the commonplace that black people are more homophobic than white people - which they are sooo not (Westboro Baptist - say Whaaaat!).


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.