‘Why should they be?’

Miss Susan. What is algebra exactly; is it those three cornered things?

Phoebe. It is x minus y equals z plus y and things like that. And all the time you are saying they are equal, you feel in your heart, why should they be.

Quality Street by J. M. Barrie
Quality Street, Act II, by J. M. Barrie

It feels unnecessary to say it, but mathematics and all its attendant subjects were not my strongest points in school. Though algebra appealed to me far more than “those three cornered things” (meaning geometry, I’m guessing) due to its formulaic/theoretical nature, I certainly wondered often enough with Phoebe, “but why, tho?”

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