Teacher: Greg, could you open discussion on the theme of villainy in Great Expectations?
Greg: Well…there are of course a few people that could be considered criminals in the book.
Teacher: A few criminals? Most, actually all, literary critics would disagree. Please elaborate.
Greg: I think I take it back. There are no criminals in this book?
Teacher: Greg, you’ve hooked me, but use the fishing rod of knowledge to enlighten me further.
Greg: You know, how do we define criminal, and who in the book really meets this definition?
Teacher: My interpretation is that we meet a character pretty early on that committed murder.
Greg: I don’t think we really know this character at this point. I certainly don’t.
Teacher: At this point in the book you mean.
Greg: Yes? Yes.
Teacher: It might help if you name that criminal I was referring to and tell us what you mean.
Amanda: It’s pretty clear that Greg can’t name this criminal, nor has he read the book.
Greg: We could sit here and indict every character in the book as a “criminal” or “murderer” if we really wanted to. You’d know that if you read the book, Amanda.
Teacher: Then it seems, to teach Amanda, you can name any character in the book, Greg.
Greg: ….So it would seem.
Teacher: Then go ahead and name any character in the book. Name one character.
Amanda: Oh come on. The author names four non-criminal characters on the first page, Greg.
Teacher: It seems Amanda would better understand your analysis if you named the author.
Greg: Katherine Evans.
Teacher: That’s my name, Greg.
Greg: Right, right. Just addressing you directly when I say that the author is Charles Dickens, or so the cover of the book would have us believe.
Teacher: (Smiling) You see, Amanda. If you listen, you can learn a lot from others’ readings, like I have from Greg today. Good job, Greg. Amanda, I have nothing more to say to you.
Amanda: This is unbelievable. Greg contributed absolutely nothing to today’s discussion.
Greg: You’re right. The characters were today’s real contributors. The criminal and the other characters. That is if there were others.