THE GRAMMAR TEACHER
A cult of assertiveness, that’s what I call it. Preferring a self-confident student to a talented one, hiring not the best employee but the most appealing one, considering a confident and attractive appearance more important than actual achievement. The idea that ‘success in life’ depends on assertiveness and charm rather than actual performance has become the norm. I find this modern inclination disturbing even scary. Bolstering not the substance but the exterior (or is this the substance now?) seems to me like a slippery road, neither fruitful nor just. But it looks as though it can’t be stopped.
‘The Grammar Teacher’ is a story about an old-fashioned, hardworking teacher who, with devotion and perseverance, makes her students excel in grammar. Yet in spite of that, the principal hires a new grammar teacher, assertive and attractive. Frustration that her achievements are unrecognized makes her doubt her entire set of values. The resultant breakdown in her moral and social character is literally a loss of integrity and a loss of rules of behavior – making her act in a way entirely foreign to her previous way of life.
‘The Grammar Teacher’ is the third novella in Five Selves
, published by Holland House Books.
A Publishers Weekly Starred Review:http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-909374-79-9