Loving a character to the end.

The gentle whimpers began to fill the air in the room.  The whimpers multiplied by two and began to get louder and louder until everyone in the room became silent.  The teacher leaned over and gently put her arms around the two girls and asked, “are you okay?”

The girls wiped their tears, took a deep breath, and finally answered in a sob, “I can’t believe he died!”

          The character from the book they were reading had died.

“It’s not what I expected.”.

“How could that happen to him?”

“I thought there would be a happy ending.”

These girls had become so involved in the story that they were moved to tears.  Their reading time had suddenly come to a stop as they needed time to recover.  I remembered how I cried when Charlotte died in Charlotte’s web and shared my personal story and connected with the girls.  Once they finished mourning their beloved character, they ended their time by making predictions about what would happen in the book tomorrow.

I can’t wait to hear what happens next.  Maybe I’ll keep a box of tissues nearby.

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3 thoughts on “Loving a character to the end.

  1. I’ve talked with students about this feeling of loving characters, empathizing, and even missing them when finishing a book. When they “get it,” it’s as though they are truly born into a reading life. Check out this quote:

    “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”

    –Joyce Carol Oates

  2. So often when reading a book, I find myself crying unexpectedly. It’s amazing how books can touch nerves in us that trigger emotion, connections and understanding – and it just sneaks up on you! You captured that so beautifully here.

  3. Awesome. That made me smile.

    The first time I cried over a book happened during the summer after my senior year of high school. I guess because I was a boy and an inconsistent reader I did not have enough reading experiences to finally get to that visceral moment. That said, it was the conclusion of Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms” to punched me in the gut.

    And boy did I sob.

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