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Generally speaking, people on the spectrum tend to be very literal. They're sort of hard wired that way. Ethan does very well academically with math, science, spelling, grammar and even history facts. But in the social sciences, areas that ask for opinon, inferencing, and applying point view are extremely difficult. This last quarter in 9th grade English, Ethan (like many other 9th and 10th graders across the U.S.) read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. As if reading English from the 16th century isn't difficult enough, Romeo and Juliet is full of poetic verses full of imagery. Metaphors are not in Ethan's wheelhouse. He's just barely detecting sarcasm at home.

So how do you think he did at identifying metaphors, similes, and light and dark imagery? Poorly. First time ever in his academic career, he was seriously flunking. I tried tutoring him to help him with homework and quizzes and it helped a little, but his grade was in the toilet. The only hope of saving his English grade was to do very well on the final essay on light and dark imagery. I was tasked with how to get through to him on the topic.

When Ethan was younger, I'd often use whatever interested him in order to help re-teach. So tv shows, movies, super heroes, etc. were great tools to give examples that he could understand and relate to. How was I going to teach about the obsessive love played out in light and dark imagery in Romeo and Juliet? And then it come to me. Enter the lightsaber! A modern day epic that absurdly overuses light and dark imagery as much as R&J: Star Wars. And courtesy of the prequel trilogy there's an obsessive forbidden love story. So we had some long conversations in which Ethan was able to point out all the wonderfully obvious uses of dark and light imagery in the original and prequel trilogies along with the imagery used in the doomed love story. While the execution of prequel trilogy isn't great and the dialogue cringeworthy, the story is solid and worked great to get Ethan thinking about the use of light and dark imagery.

It took some serious coaching but Ethan constructed an A+ Essay and brought his English grade back to a B. Ethan was happy and proud. So thank you George Lucas for your overzealous use light and dark imagery.

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