Questioning and Struggling Through Literature
Jamie Lavender's letter to Robert Cormier
In this one-page, typed letter by Jamie Lavender, a high school student living in Lakewood, New Jersey, and dated 20 October 1983, the writer wrestles with the question of the purpose of fiction. S/he believes it is to "free the mind" not "burden" it with thoughts of terrorism as s/he experienced while reading After the First Death. S/he struggles to reconcile the competing views of him/herself and those of his/her teacher.
Janet Fredericksen's letter to Robert Cormier
In this two-page, handwritten letter by Janet Fredericksen to Robert Cormier, the adult writer explains that she encountered the book After the First Death, in a Children's Literature class. Almost angrily, she demands to know who his audience is and why the book is a YA book. Toward the end of the letter, she relates how engaging the book is and applauds him as writer. In a post script, her daughter has asked who she was writing to - then said "he's the guy that wrote I am the Cheese." The writer indicated that she intended to read that book soon.
NPR reports on how the East and West view the role of struggling in learning differently in "Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning"
Prof. Robert Winston's BBC mini-series The Human Body features one episode on the development of the human mind.