Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pronoun / Antecedent

One morning a fifth-grader saw me hand an empty egg carton over to another student. He asked why, and I told him that the other student’s family was going to fill the carton with a dozen freshly laid brown eggs.

His reply was, “we get brown eggs from our neighbors. They raise chickens. They’re rednecks.”

“Nicholas,” I said, “you do realize that that’s a derogatory term, don’t you? That it’s not a nice thing to call someone?”

In a completely guileless voice he said, “I don’t think they mind.”

“But you should mind, ” I told him. “They’re your friends. They give you eggs.”

He looked at me, his favorite teacher, as if I were an idiot and said, “they’re just chickens.”

I paused, tiny little cogitative wheels spinning furiously.

“Do you mean Rhode Island Reds?”

“Yeah!” he said brightly, “That’s it! Rhode Island Reds!”

“Ah... Well... I’ll see you in class, then.”