Mary Ryan is a character that creates a mixture of feelings in the reader: sadness, pity and admiration. Show how the writer successfully portrays Mary’s ability to cope with her disadvantages in the story and overcome her difficulties to evoke strong emotions in those around her. “Hieroglyphics” by Anne Donovan is a very appealing and inspirational short story, concentrating on the learning difficulties a young girl has to cope with. The main character in this story is a girl called Mary who is struggling with dyslexia and the social prejudices she has to tolerate from the people surrounding her.
Mary is a very optimistic and intelligent 12 year old and in this story her thought and feelings are explained with the story carefully being written in first person narrative using Scots language. Mary manages to overcome the difficulties in her learning by remaining proud of all the work she produces and not being ashamed of the person she is and the point that she cannot read and write as well as others her age. This portrays the positive and important message to be yourself and not allow others to ridicule you.
Mary’s problems are dismissed in primary school and she is treated extremely unfairly. Her teachers assumed she was not putting the effort she should have been into her assignments and not achieving the level of work she was capable of: “She lacks concentration”. They somewhat recognised that the problems she was having were authentic, “No, I don’t think she’s lazy, there is a genuine difficulty there”, but when Mary was given extra assistance she was made to feel like a nuisance to the teacher.
She believed Mary was a sluggish child and understood that because of that her problems had escalated: “A hink she thoat ah wis lazy”. This teacher had no patience with Mary and when she could not do the work she was distributing to her she began to “get a bit scunnered”. She made no effort to understand why Mary could not carry out the simple tasks of reading and writing: “naebdy ever asked me whit it wis like”. When the lessons with this teacher were finished the way in which the school handled Mary got worse.
They allowed her to do the things she was capable of doing and enjoyed, whilst at the same time missing out on vital teaching lessons that could have been used to help her improve on her literacy skills: “Maisty the time the teachers gied me the colourin in tae dae”. The primary school should have detected the problems Mary had early on in her schooling and made sure she received an education to suit her needs. This evokes frustration and anger within the reader.