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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

240              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

Hence they must be taught at first to distinguish between straight
lines and curves, verticals and horizontals and between the vast
variety of sloping lines; then, lastly, the principal points of union
of two or more lines to form a figure.

" This reasoned analysis of drawing, from which writing will
be born, is so essential in all its parts that a child who was able to
draw many letters before being entrusted to me, spent six days in
drawing a perpendicular and a horizontal line, fifteen days before
he could reproduce a curve and a sloping line. Most of my pupils
are for a long time incapable of imitating the movement of my
hands on paper before being able to draw a line in a definite
direction.

" The more imitative or the less stupid produce a mark dia-
metrically the opposite of that which I have shown them, and all
of them confuse the points where two lines meet, even the easiest
to understand like the top, the bottom, the centre. It is true that
the thorough teaching which I have given them about the plane,
the lines and configuration makes them later prepared to grasp
the relationships which have to be established between the plane
and the different lines with which they must cover the surface; but
in the research made necessary by the abnormalities of my pupils.,
the progression from the vertical to the horizontal, the oblique
and the curve, must be determined by consideration of the diffi-
culties of comprehension and of execution which each one of them
offers to a dull intelligence, and to an unsteady and unsure hand.
Here one has no longer merely to make them carry out a difficult
job since I have prepared myself to help them to overcome a series
of difficulties. I have> therefore, asked myself if these difficulties
might not vary in degree and if sometimes they might not originate
in -theories. Here are the ideas which have guided me in this
matter.

"The vertical is a line which the eye and the hand follow
directly, raising and lowering themselves. The horizontal is not
natural either to the eye or the hand, which lower themselves and
follow a .curve (like the horizon from which the name is taken),