Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Catherine from Oregon -- An Observation on Curriculum

Credit: rosewithoutathorn84
Catherine of Aragon

Book report, as read aloud by one of my students in a 10th grade English class, shortly before I decided to become a chef.

“So there this lady, Catherine; and she be from Oregon; and she go and marry this king whose name is King Henry Vee-eye-eye-eye. And he be the king of England. But that don’ happen ‘til later.”

Thus began Naomi C.’s book report on the famed union of Catherine of Aragon and England’s King Henry VIII .

“This girl parents, Fer’nan and Izbel from Spain, fix Catherine up to get marry when she be three years old. And her husband – he be two. And his name Arthur. But they don’t get marry ‘til she be sixteen and he be fifteen on November, 14, 1501 at Old St. Paul’s cathedral, that’s in London.

“Pretty soon Arthur, he die from sweating too much.

“So now what happen is Catherine she marry Arthur’s baby brother. Not right then, cause the baby brother too young. But one day. And his name Henry -- Henry Vee-eye-eye-eye.

“So now Catherine be the Queen of England and Henry be the king. But she keep getting pregnant and having dead babies or girl babies – who Henry don’t want cause he need a boy baby who alive to take his job when he die.

“First Henry he stay with Catherine anyway; but then he start going aroun’ wid a bunch of udder womens ‘til he find one he like and knock her up and gets a live boy.

“Well, that be it for ol’ Catherine. He throw her out and she go to a dumpy li’l castle that’s real damp. And she pray a lot and then she die in 1536.”

“I like this book; but some of it di’n make no sense.”

“You not kiddin’,” volunteered Ricky H. from the back of the room. “Sixteen-year ol’ chick marry a two-year old. No way.”

“An’ how Catherine," added Crystal J., one of my top students, "if she be from Oregon, way out ta California, get to meet some little dude in England, all the way over to Africa?”

To correct their geography, or not to correct their geography?

Next week we move on to Chaucer.

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alan handwerger is an editor for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Catherine from Oregon -- An Observation on Curriculum

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By Tom Lewis on January 19, 2010 at 02:59 pm

Very funny, right on the edge of being really sad. Reminds me of giving an exam to a roomful of university students -- a 300-level course -- that included a question naming two things and asking something about the latter. No one in the room knew the meaning of the word "latter."

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