Recently our entire high school of 125 students and a handful of teachers saw Thornton Wilder's play Our Town at a local university, free I might add. For a play written in 1938, it was indeed a snapshot of its time, approaching mid-century America post World War I and the Great Depression. After the country had seen so much loss of life (and quality of life), it was no wonder that a certain hopelessness invaded the story. In essence, Wilder simplistically depicted the passing of time in the place and people of Grover's Corner, Americana. Yes, Americana.
I have at times attempted to define classical education by referring to the liberality of the liberal arts. Maybe I aimed too high, but surely a word that denotes generosity and freedom is favorable. That word liberal, however, is so misused today that it brings confusion not clarity. No, I’m not speaking of the political spectrum. This isn’t about a liberal bent in social issues.
Known best for his odes, Quintus Horatius Flaccus cuts one of the best odd-luck stories for the son of a former slave in first century Rome (B.C.E.). Though he was likely of mixed heritage, Horace met surprising fortune. His father worked as an auction agent and had bettered himself, so well in fact that he owned his own farm. With steady income, he wisely had Horace educated in Rome rather than in his native village with the sons of centurions.
Among the tales of The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin is one of a few that feature mankind as the central characters. Like the epics of old, it begins with a great battle, one full of both hope and despair. The sons of men and kingdoms of elves suffer great loss of life and land as the battle slowly works against them. Before Húrin is captured by Morgoth, the fallen Valar or Tolkien’s Satan, Húrin’s faith is ever strong:
How do words work? It depends on who you ask. Socrates felt words were not worth studying, that only things themselves are. Words, he thought, are much like an artist’s imitation—they are a likeness but not the true thing. His explanation seems to imply some sort of lack or falsity.