My English teacher my junior year of high school told me it’s impossible to read without a pen in hand. I don’t have a pen–just a bag of hot fries. I do, however, have a blog…
Pedagogy of the Oppressed seemed very black and white. The whole world can be categorized and chunked up into neat divisions of oppressor and oppressed, of dialogue and anti-dialogue, of banking or problem-posing, of organization and manipulation. No axes, no continuum, no messiness. Anything other than the ideal is impossible. Anything less than perfect is destructive.
I ached for real examples and for anything other than Freire’s mind-products. I really thought I would put the book down and give up, but there was just enough story there, just enough application sprinkled throughout, to keep me going.
Did I learn anything? Sure—I like having a command of some of the Freire language, and I think it will be useful to think of some of his dichotomies as axes along which the real world can be analyzed. Anyway, the fact that I didn’t get more out of it is probably due to my own ignorance and impatience more than it is to some flaw in the work. I wonder, though, if the book’s popularity can be attributed at least in part to our desire for clear distinctions and hard-line boundaries—things that resonate psychologically but don’t really exist in the real world.