A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy

An impression is what you would get in that second. Detail? Very little. You would be left with a feeling of the country's nature and for the rest of your life you would be searching the span of a second's memory. An impression – a shallow base from which to lecture others; a humble heritage. Humility was always valued in our family, beyond wealth or influence, and you don't shake those legacies easily.

A bolt from the blue and other essays about education

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A BOLT FROM THE BLUE: And Other Essays. | Wilson …

The Australian story we accepted with such equanimity is unbelievable after rudimentary examination: just go back to what the first European explorers described. The story with which I try to inspire my friends is from Charles Sturt's journal of his desert expedition beginning in 1844. His second-in-command is dead, the doctor is critically ill with scurvy, and Sturt is almost blind from that and other illnesses. Their horses can barely walk. Sturt climbs a tall dune and is hailed by four hundred Aborigines. He is startled to find happy, healthy humans in a terrain that has claimed the lives of many explorers and has reduced his party to a tottering, vulnerable rabble.

A bolt from the blue and other essays

I listened in disbelief, protective of the education of which I was so proud. My cousins, sister and I graduated from university, though we came from a family where secondary education was virtually unknown. Our grandmother revelled in our success and insisted that we treasure it. We loved her, and because we were warmed by her pride we decided to find out from where she came.

A bolt from the blue and other essays on education
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Mary McCarthy was one of the leading literary figures of …