Well, does she?

Frances asks me to read Amelia Bedelia (by Peggy Parish) to her this afternoon.

Amelia Bedelia is a domestic helper who interprets language rather literally much to the initial chagrin of her employers.

For example, “undust the furniture” makes more sense than the instructions to dust the furniture do, but she dusts the furniture at any rate.

At this point, Frances asks: “Does she have autism?”

She, then, proceeds to show me how each page of our vintage copy differs from the more modern version in her classroom, right down to the period and the colour differences of objects depicted in the story’s rooms.

In the end, the owners of the house decide that Amelia Bedelia should remain in their employ and they adapt to her language difficulty.

Does Amelia Bedelia have autism? I don’t know, but Frances, who does not laugh throughout the reading, believes she does.

2 thoughts on “Well, does she?

  1. Wow! There’s a new interpretation. Each new generation has new insights. Whether Amelia Bedelia has autism I cannot say, but I would doubt that the author, Peggy Parrish, meant her to. My guess (without looking for any backstory) is that the inspiration came from the confusion that all language learners , including young children, have when they are wrapping their minds around idioms.

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