University of Chicago
Describe a pivotal moment in your life
On January 14th, 2002, my father stopped reading to me. Early on, my bibliophile father decided he would never dictate a lesson or give me an answer, but rather that I would learn through literature. Every celebration, every birthday or holiday I was given a book that was read to me at night, my dad’s favorite way of parenting. On my sixth birthday, my father stopped, and told me it was time to go forward on my own. This was the biggest leap of intellectual independence I had ever taken. Partly thrilled and partly terrified of this newfound sovereignty, I came to the obvious conclusion that I was now an adult. Children are read to, adults read for themselves. And since that date I have exercised this adult practice with the same reckless abandonment most children display when given a privilege, any privilege. I become the book; I become a character. I bind myself in the author’s words and emulate the protagonist like a child playing dress-up.
Anne Shirley of Green Gables used “the full scope of her imagination": determined to become just like this ingenious character, seven-year-old Elizabeth spent the entire summer before second grade constructing a castle in the woods. Fortified with woven twigs and branches, waterproofed...
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