Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The power of Kindles in literary analysis

Today my freshmen were discussing chapters 8, 9 and 10 of The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd.  As we are approaching the end of the novel, I am starting to highlight possible topics for a final essay that are coming out of our discussions. 

Today, a student brought up the author's continued use of fire and heat as a motif throughout the novel.  I pointed out that that would make a fascinating essay topic.  It could even be juxtaposed with the author's use of water.  My star Kindle student, Ellie, opened up her Kindle for PC app and did a quick search of the text.

"The word 'fire' appears 54 times in the book," she interjected.  The collective head of the class swiveled in her direction.  I briefly explained that with the Kindle app, you can search the entire text for a word or words. 

"'Water' appears 83 times, and 'wet' appears another 15."  The class was gasping and excitedly asking about other terms. 

"What about 'earth' and 'dirt'?  We already have fire and water, what about the other elements?" 

"'Dirt,' 30 times, 'earth,' 17."  The oohs and aahs continued. 

"Think of how quickly Ellie can find a quote she is looking for, or look for other quotes related to her topic," I added.  The envious nods swept through the room. 

This was an aha! moment for many of them.  We are a laptop school, so the Kindle app is at their fingertips.  This Kindle movement is coming from the grassroots up. 

Stay tuned for an interview with Ellie in the coming week!


  1. Love your blog! I have been experimenting with listening to books on Audible and continuing to read on my Kindle now that Amazon has connected the two with Whispersync. Amazing! I miss everyone so much, but it will be fun to follow your blog. Donna Clark

  2. Thanks, Donna! I am also interested in the Audible/Kindle crossovers. Does it connect to your Audible account? I should look into that more.