Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk


1. Debate

"I just don't see the point in reading that story." I said as I slapped my hand down on my teacher's desk. Mrs Stymen, my tenth grade English teacher, shot me a cross look as she gently pushed my hand off her mahogany desk.

"The point in reading Alice in Wonderland, or any literary classic for that matter, is to show the class some beautifully written stories by renowned authors and hopefully spark an interest in reading." She waved her hand out towards the classroom to illustrate her point. All around the classroom kids were talking and typing on their electronic devices. Not a single person was reading, even though Mrs Stymen had gobs of great books lining the classroom walls. I sighed at the disappointment that was my generation.

"OK, I see your point. But can't we start with a different literary classic? How about the Adventures of Tom Sawyer? Or Oliver Twist? The Invisible Man? A Christmas Carol, even. Anything other than Alice in Wonderland."

"We'll get to those stories. We're just starting with Alice in Wonderland. It's a fantastic story."

"It's nonsensical gibberish!" I exclaimed, throwing my hands up into the air. I slapped them back down on Mrs Stymen's desk, fingers spread. "A little girl following a white rabbit in a waistcoat down a rabbit hole to a world full of nothing but nonsense is silly. The White Rabbit is obsessed with time, the Red Queen is obsessed with beheading, and the March Hare is simply insane. It's madness. The Mad Hatter is about the only accurate character in the entire story!" Mrs Stymen leaned back in her black swivel chair and crossed her arms and legs simultaneously while she cocked an eyebrow.

"Really? How so?"

"Well, hat makers truly were mad. The mercury they used to make the hats messed with their brains, causing them to go insane." Mrs Stymen nodded like she already knew this and flicked a hand out towards me.

"Any other complaints you'd like to get off your chest while your at it?" She asked in an unamused tone.

"Yes, actually, I do. The fact that the whole trip down the rabbit hole was was actually a dream is the biggest cop out an author can make. Lewis Carroll truly disappointed me with that."

"Huh, so you read Alice in Wonderland?" Mrs Stymen asked me that like she had a sneaking suspicion I had. I took my hands off the desk and crossed them over my chest, miming Mrs Stymen.

"Of course I've read it. How else would I know just how awful of a book it is?" Mrs Stymen's hands tightened on her crossed arms and she uncocked her eyebrow.

"Well, thank you for your input and insight, but the decision is not yours to make, and I would appreciate it if you left the decision making to me. This is, after all, my classroom. Now please take you seat, the bell is about to ring." The words were pleasant enough, but Mrs Stymen's voice was barb wire sharp, like she took my complaint about the book as a personal insult. I turned to go back to my seat when Mrs Stymen added,

"For the record, Alyss Littral, I thought you'd have more respect for Alice Liddell. After all, she is your namesake." A little spark of anger ignited inside my chest at the comment. Everyone assumed that I was named after Alice Liddell because our names sound so alike. It drove me crazy.

I took a deep breath and turned back to Mrs Stymen. She was smirking, all high and mighty and confident.

"And for the record, Mrs Stymen, your wrong. I was named after my great great grandmother. Not that whiny little know-it-all." I saw the smug look on Mrs Stymen's face slip into a look of anger before I turned back around and walked to my desk. I heard her start to say something, then the bell rang, cutting her off. I slung my backpack onto my shoulder and smiled pleasantly at Mrs Stymen before slipping out the door into the congested hallway.


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