Fly on the Wall: Marian

By: Adam Sutton

“Anybody have questions?” Mr. Grist asked, pausing to give students a chance to respond.  “Alright, get to work writing your essays.  They are due Friday!  I’ll be around to check-in.”

No sooner had he walked across the room to get a drink of water when Marian was standing in front of him.  “Mr. Grist, I was talking to my Dad about this project.  We were talking about how to judge the American Revolution, and he asked me a question that I don’t know the answer to: should we judge the Revolution’s influence based on today’s standards or, like, back then?”

“Ha.  That’s a great question.  What do you think?”

“Ummm, I don’t know.”

“What’s your Dad think?”

“He just asked the question.  He wasn’t very helpful either.  He teaches history too, and he said I’d have to decide on my own,” she replied.


“Mr. Grist, look I get it.  After the Revolution we have evidence showing women standing up for themselves and slavery eroding in the North and a political system dominated by people of more modest means.  I get all of that.  But, we also know women didn’t get to vote until 1920 and slavery lasts for like 80 years after the Revolution ends and the Framers of the Constitution were a bunch of rich white dudes,” Marian states in a very matter of fact way.

“What’s the problem?” Mr. Grist responds. 

“What am I supposed to say about the radicalness of the Revolution?” she asks looking for clarity.

“What do you think?”

“You and my Dad are driving me nuts!  That’s what I think!  Will somebody give me some direction here?” Marian says with a grin on her face.

“Well, Marian, it’s clear that you know a lot about the Revolution.  You brought up the standard we use to judge people yesterday.  Which standard do you think we should judge people by: the standard of their time or ours?” Mr. Grist answers. 


“You’ve reached the Brown household.  Please leave a message after the tone.”

“Hi, this is Mr. Grist from Crawley Middle School.  I’m Marian’s Social Studies teacher.  I’ve been meaning to call for a while, but I just wanted to call and let you know that your kid is top-notch.  Her maturity, curiosity and interest in our American Revolution project were awesome to watch.  Have a great evening.  If you need to talk more, you can call me at 555-555-1234.

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