Analysis Of Proust And The Squid By Maryanne Wolf

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# Essay 3

*Proust and the Squid,* by Professor Maryanne Wolf, unveils and celebrates reading, "one of the single most remarkable inventions in history." (3) While it might seem absurd today, reading was invented only a few thousand years ago, and consequently it has had an undeniably colossal influence on humanity. Imagining a world without text seems unbelievable now, but for the better part of humanity this medium of communication was nonexistent. In this book,

> [Wolf] hope[s] to push [the readers] gently toward reconsidering things [they] might long have taken for granted-such as how natural it is for a child to learn to read. In the evolution of our brain's capacity to learn, the act of reading is not natural, with consequences both
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Far from being a one-dimensional action, reading depends on hundreds of interweaving threads and neurons in the human brain. In an infinity loop, whenever a new experience occurs, the human brain constructs new connections among already existing structures. These new structures enhance the action of doing the original, causative experience; then those same structures strengthen, and so forth. This positive feedback loop in known as *neural plasticity,* and is, in short, "the basis for much of who we are, and who we might become." (3)

Reading is an intellectual feat of monstrous proportions. It changes the brain, and thus "[it is a] powerful mirror of... how the brain learns anything new." (4) To better comprehend its magnitude, Wolf divides her work into three topics: the history of reading, how a modern child learns to read, and the case when a child struggles to learn to read. These three sections, when taken together, provide a holistic and nuanced view of the act of reading, making the reader appreciate the things once taken for granted. Out of the three sections, it is the beginning section, which illustrates the invention of reading in history, that is most

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