When do we learn to read?

When do we learn to read? - Jellinek 1 Hannah Jellinek ENGL...

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Jellinek Hannah Jellinek ENGL 203 Professor Garrett October 12, 2012 When do we learn to read? What does it mean to “read,” to feel and to interpret? How do we define emotion? How do we describe the world we encounter? A blade of grass? The light shining through a pocket of clouds, illuminating the tops of trees? Authors such as Christopher Columbus, Jonathan Edwards, Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatly, in “reading” and discovering the world, searched for answers. They wondered how they should “read” and explore, how the spiritual was exhibited in the “material” world, and how to describe the “invisible” or the “sublime.” While some authors, such as Edwards and Bradstreet “read” the world by interpreting events and encounters through God and his providential framework, others such as Wheatley questioned how the spiritual and material mixed, especially in the arts. In his Letter to Luis De Santangel Regarding the First Voyage , Christopher Columbus writes, on the wonders of “Española” which are “beyond comparison with others… in Christendom…” He writes, “There are six or eight kinds of palm, which are a wonder to behold on account of their beautiful variety….In it are marvelous pine groves…Española is a marvel.” (36) Columbus, in his “reading” seems overwhelmed by this new world. He writes with confidence, in short, strong sentences. However, by using words such as “beautiful” and “marvelous,” the reader doubts if this language can truly capture the sights which he is encountering. What does it mean for something to be 1
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Jellinek “beautiful” or a “marvel?” For Columbus, material objects seem to be signs for the spiritual. While Columbus is typically labeled as a founding “explorer” these themes are timeless. What is “wondering” or “encountering” and how do we describe the material, “everyday” world?
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