The first person point of view Baxter chose allows us to understand the story better. It also allows Tommy to portray his personal feelings toward his substitute teacher, Miss Ferenczi. The diction Baxter uses for Miss Ferenczi is rather interesting. Our understanding of why Baxter chose her complex and confusing diction is to expand the minds of the students.

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PBS adapted the story for television in Plot Ms. Ferenczi, a substitute teacher, arrives in a fourth-grade classroom in rural Five Oaks, Michigan. The children immediately find her both peculiar and intriguing. Ferenczi declares that the classroom needs a tree and begins drawing one on the board -- an "outsized, disproportionate" tree. Though Ms. Ferenczi executes the prescribed lesson plan, she clearly finds it tedious and intersperses the assignments with increasingly fantastic stories about her family history, her world travels, the cosmos, the afterlife, and various natural marvels.

The students are mesmerized by her stories and her manner. A few weeks later, Ms. Ferenczi reappears in the classroom. When a boy named Wayne Razmer pulls the Death card and asks what it means, she breezily tells him, "It means, my sweet, that you will die soon.

Ferenczi has left the school for good. Tommy, the narrator, confronts Wayne for reporting the incident and getting Ms. Ferenczi dismissed, and they end up in a fistfight. By the afternoon, all the students have been doubled up in other classrooms and are back to memorizing facts about the world. Ferenczi plays fast and loose with the truth. Her face has "two prominent lines, descending vertically from the sides of her mouth to her chin," which Tommy associates with that famous liar, Pinocchio.

When she fails to correct a student who has said that six times 11 is 68, she tells the incredulous children to think of it as a "substitute fact. The children are enthralled -- enlivened -- by her substitute facts.

And in the context of the story, I frequently am, too then again, I found Miss Jean Brodie pretty charming until I caught on to the whole fascism thing. Ferenczi tells the children that "[w]hen your teacher, Mr. Hibler, returns, six times eleven will be sixty-six again, you can rest assured.

And it will be that for the rest of your lives in Five Oaks. Too bad, eh? For instance, when Tommy consults a dictionary and finds "gryphon" defined as "a fabulous beast," he misunderstands the use of the word "fabulous" and takes it as evidence that Ms. Ferenczi is telling the truth. At one point Tommy attempts to make up a story of his own.

Ferenczi; he wants to be like her and create his own flights of fancy. But a classmate cuts him off. Gryphon Ms. Ferenczi claims to have seen a real gryphon -- a creature half lion, half bird -- in Egypt. The gryphon is an apt metaphor for the teacher and her stories because both combine real parts into unreal wholes. Her teaching vacillates between the prescribed lesson plans and her own whimsical storytelling.

She bounces from actual wonders to imagined wonders. She can sound sane in one breath and delusional in the next. This mix of the real and the unreal keeps the children unsteady and hopeful. For me, this story is not about whether Ms. But she can only be considered a hero if you accept the false dichotomy that school is a choice between boring facts and thrilling fictions.

And I should make it clear here that I can stomach the character of Ms. Ferenczi only in a fictional context; no one like this has any business in a real classroom. She told the truth!

Readers are left pondering the question of whether "anyone is going to be hurt by a substitute fact. Is Wayne Razmer hurt by the prediction of his imminent death? One would imagine so. Is Tommy hurt by having a tantalizing view of the world held out to him, only to see it abruptly withdrawn? Or is he richer for having glimpsed it at all?

AR 623-3 PDF


PDF Signaler ce document 1Postmodernists reject the proposition that a universal understanding of objective reality, or of what is out there in the world beyond the observer, actually exists. Philosophically, this perspective began to enter into general intellectual discussion after Immanuel Kant published his Critique of Pure Reason in In that work, Kant asserted that human beings never actually know objects that they perceive in the world as objects in-and-of-themselves; they know only what their limited senses give them of the objects in the world. Therefore, their perception of reality ultimately is a subjective reality and not an absolute reality. There also developed the idea that an understanding of the world is relative to the perspective of the observer, which became an important tenet of postmodernism. The positivists further assert that their scientific approach to reality is equally valid in logic, epistemology, and ethics, without reference to theology or metaphysics or other mystical disciplines Positivism. At the same time, the story also brings into question some of the more extreme applications of postmodernist practice.


"Gryphon" By Charles Baxter

The next time I went to the library, though, there the book was again, mocking me from the shelves. Out of your earthly shape. Charles Baxter answers questions about Gryphon Understanding how difficult and complex this concept must be for her young students to grasp, Miss Ferenczi finishes her discussion on that matter by saying, with a note of resignation: In that work, Kant asserted that human beings never actually know objects that they perceive in the world as objects in-and-of-themselves; they know only what their limited senses give them of the objects in the world. And none of them will haunt me into the future. Mantei said that our assignment would be to memorize these lists for the next day, when Mr. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.


Charles Baxter’s “Gryphon”: A Postmodernist Substitute in a Traditional Classroom



Analysis of 'Gryphon' by Charles Baxter


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