If youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically; you wouldn’t constantly run across folks today who claim that “a child don’t know anything.”A child’s brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult’s act, and figuring out its purport.You may feel that that that little passage, the first two paragraphs of Ernest Vincent Wright's Gadsby (1939),was not at all remarkable. In terms of content you would be right. But Gadsby is more than a coming-of-age story. It is a 50,000 word novel written entirely without the use of the letter E. Check those paragraphs again: no letter E anywhere. He wrote a novel avoiding all words that contained the letter E, the most common letter in the English language, five times more common than any other. He literally removed the "E" key from his typewriter, just for the fun of it. That means no verbs with an "ed" ending, no numbers between six and thirty, and very few pronouns since "he" "she" "they" "them" "their" "her" "herself" "myself" "himself" and "yourself" are all right out. The name of this kind of experiment, if you care to know, is "lipogram." The whole novel is available online for free: just click here, if you want to check if he cheated. (He didn't).
Up to about its primary school days a child thinks, naturally, only of play. But many a form of play contains disciplinary factors. “You can’t do this,” or “that puts you out,” shows a child that it must think, practically or fail. Now, if, throughout childhood, a brain has no opposition, it is plain that it will attain a position of “status quo,” as with our ordinary animals. Man knows not why a cow, dog or lion was not born with a brain on a par with ours; why such animals cannot add, subtract, or obtain from books and schooling, that paramount position which Man holds today.