1. an unfavorable or censorious comment: to make animadversions on someone’s conduct.
  2. the act of criticizing.


Mr. Harper surveyed the room. Fidgeting fingers and averted gazes. The floor was drawing the students’ attention like a comet streaking across the night sky.  Only Malina Juarez smiled confidently back at him. She waved her hand back and forth as if she was a passenger on the Titanic trying to gain the attention of the coastguard.

Apparently only one of his students had done the reading.

“I know everyone did their homework, so any one of you will be able to answer this question.”

The only sound that could be heard was Malina’s stifled cry as she strained to not detach her arm from its socket.

Mr. Harper honed in on the only other student who wasn’t looking down.

“Patrick Tucker!”

Of all of his students, Patrick was the one most likely to be caught in a daydream. The child rarely spoke. His interactions with children were even more rare. He often could be found with his face in a book during recess while his classmates talked and played. As usual, he was staring out the classroom window.


The 8 year old slowly turned toward Mr. Harper. His fellow students snickered.

“Patrick, would you share with the class the answer to this question… or do you need me to repeat it first?”

The classroom fell silent as Patrick stared wordlessly at Mr. Harper.

“At some point, young man, you’re going to have to pay attention if you ever want to learn anything or get ahead in life.”

Patrick sighed quietly.

“Mr. Harper, I heard your original question and I have an answer,” Patrick said. “I’m just taking a moment to make the conscious decision to ignore your most recent animadversion cloaked in a tone of disgust.”

Patrick exuded calm.

“But to answer your original question, in Charlotte’s Web we see a tale of friendship and love that surpasses disadvantages and the death of someone the protagonist holds dear. E.B. White has written a tale of redemption, hope, loss, and, in a way, rebirth.”

Color flooded Mr. Harper’s cheeks.

“But in response to your question, ‘is Charlotte’s Web about friendship,’ I would say most certainly yes…and more.”

Patrick turned his attention back to the scene outside of the window. His favorite reading spot beneath the giant oak tree was calling to him. He couldn’t wait to continue reading Fahrenheit 451 during recess.


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