Another learning experience

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I believe that interesting would be the right word to describe this book for me. As others said, I did appreciate the educational process that Nell went through. Her journey from childhood to womanhood was a remarkable adventure that kind of makes me want to have a primer of my own. I find the change that took place inside of Nell amazing and that part of the story really engrossed my attention. I don't know whether it was the jumping around or the technicality of the story but for some reason, I couldn't get my self in the other parts of the story. There were parts such as Judge Fang, and the idea of the Neo-Victorian lifestyle compared to the Chinese life-style that would jump out and grab my attention but other than that it seemed like a blur.

"On school nights, Nell reliably went to bed between ten-thirty and eleven, but Friday was her night to immerse herself in the Primer the way she had as a small child, six or seven years ago, when all of this had started."

This quote really shows that the primer isn't a toy in which a child outgrows and forgets. It is something totally different. It is actually growing with Nell. It is helping her more than any teacher could and the method that it is using is experience. Perhaps Stephenson is trying to make a point that experience is the best teacher. Maybe he's saying that in life, we don't remember everything that we sat in a classroom and heard. We don't use all of the techniques that we learned how to solve equations with. We learn from experiences that are positive and negative and show us the right thing to do.

To me the primer which had a Victorian narrorator did more than educate Nell. It pretty much transformed her. She started off in a lower class, poor, trashy, life. The interesting point is that it didn't change her into just an upper class member of the society that she was in, it turned her into a member of the upper class Neo-Victorian society. I feel that this is significant because it all depended on the origin of the primer. It also depended on Hackworth's intent.

In class on Monday Dr. Jerz said that he can't help us if we can't explain what we don't understand. Well, I do have a question that I think would clear up some of the story for me. What is the question between hackworth and Nell? To me, I felt like Hackworth could have been the main character along with Nell.

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I agree with you on that the Primer did help change her into another person. I think of the Primer as a mother. It helped her grow and prosper into a wonderful, independent woman.

Andy I really enjoy your quote that "experience is the best teacher." I mean it is not like you can learn everything about life in a book. Well there are dummy books, but you just have to experience it. Like in my last blog I quoted how the Constable said that the Primer will make you educated, but not intelligent. That fits perfect with you experience is the best teacher.

Dena, I left a comment on Erin's blog that touched on Miss Matheson and Finkle-McGraw's attitudes towards education. You might find it relevant.

The sequence where Miranda makes a deal with the technologist and the financial backer (she will be the third leg of the tripod, the artist) suggests that in this fictional world, Stephenson doesn't see people acting alone. I found the sequence where Nell finds out who King Coyote is to be quite moving, because for a rare moment, Stephenson shows Nell interacting with the book (rather than telling everything from the internal perspective of Princess Nell), and Stephenson refers to John's voice coming from the book.

Hackworth has just at this point ceded his virtual throne to Nell, and told her that it's her job to create realities for others now.

The point of the Primer isn't just to prepare Nell for membership in the NeoVictorian society, and it's not just to give her facts and manners. It's a recognition that the whole point of education is -- or should be -- to build children up to the point where they no longer need the very structures that built them up.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on April 18, 2006 7:55 PM.

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