Drawing Letters

Consider the classic picture from The House at Pooh Corner, drawn by Ernest H. Shepard for the book by A. A. Milne… Eeyore, the old grey donkey, has arranged three sticks on the ground.  Two of the sticks were almost touching at one end but splayed apart at the other, while the third was laid across them.  Up comes Piglet. ‘Do you know what that is?’, Eeyore asks Piglet. Piglet has no idea. ‘It’s an A’, intones Eeyore proudly. By recognising the figure as an A, however, would we be justified in crediting Eeyore with having produced an artefact of writing?  Surely not. All he has done is to copy a figure he has seen somewhere else.  He knows it is an A because that is what Christopher Robin calls it.  And he is convinced that to recognise an A when you see one is of the essence of Learning and Education.  But Christopher Robin, who is starting school, knows better.  He realises that A is a letter, and that as such it is just one of a set of letters, called the alphabet, each of which has a name, and that he has learned to recite in a given order. He is also learning to draw these letters.  But at what stage does he cease to draw letters and begin instead to write? (Ingold, 2007, p.121).

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