I spent the morning watching parts of and thinking about The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. An outstanding movie to watch again and again. (Trust me on this as I have watched it again and again and again… .)
There’s an exchange early on in the flashback I can’t stop thinking about.
Hallie– the assertive, confident young woman– reveals to Rance– the attorney-at-law from back East– that she cannot read or write. She is at first embarrassed and then angry that she’s embarrassed. “What good’s readin’ and writin’ done you?” she asks him almost on the brink of tears, “Look at you! In an apron!”
A few minutes later, a calmer Hallie talks with Rance about his offer to teach her. “Do you think you could? I mean, teach me to read and write? At my age?”
She’s down right excited! It will be a sore comfort to read the words of the Bible herself.
She goes to Nora– the older, motherly Swedish woman. Rance stands behind her.
“Nora! Did you hear?! Rance is going to learn me to read and write!”
“‘Teach,’ Hallie. ‘Teach me,'” he corrects.
“Teach,” she repeats calmly.
Those two lines portend the rest of Hallie’s life in the civilized world.