Critically appreciate the essay 'A Piece of Chalk' by G.K.Chesterton?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The essay 'A Piece of Chalk' by G.K. Chesterton was typical of those writings of his which reflected on life's deeper purpose, meaning and facilitation which were brought on by the simplest of life's little daily events - in this case forgetting a white color and picking up a piece of soft rock (chalk) to write with instead. He was not the first to write like this - similar famous reflections include those by St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas (to hold all the world in 'a grain of sand.')

Chesterton was staying in the south of England and went out the chalk downs to draw. He brought all his chalks with him except the most important one - white! He had to pick up a chalky pebble from nearby to finish his work and got to thinking - that England was a piece of chalk.

Some things you might want to crtically appreciate - is that staement true or simplistic? Did he twist the concept to fit his reflections? (England has chalk cliffs in the south-east corner - it also has coal and very many igneous rocks,granite moors and headlands in the west country,slate,shale,London Beds and shale!)

Look for paradox (white can be a color - if it's used on a dark background) is that true? Did Chesterton did have our benefit of science/light technology education?

Look for other 'ordinary' things in the essay (brown paper) and comment on those in the same way.


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