Lindsey Brigham Knott Aug 23, 2018

Four chapters into our latest read-aloud, The Scarlet Pimpernel, the ninth-grade student whom I was tutoring spontaneously commented, “This is a really good story . . . it keeps you wondering what’s about to happen!” Heartily assenting, I turned the page to begin the next chapter of mounting mystery. But hours later, having left behind the novel’s Parisian streets and English inns, that comment echoed within the very different setting of my twenty-first century suburban preoccupations and pronounced an epiphany to my hard-hearing ears. 

Category:
Hannah Hubin Aug 10, 2018

It was an aesthetic education to live within those walls, to wander from room to room, from the Soanesque library to the Chinese drawing-room, adazzle with gilt pagodas and nodding mandarins, painted paper and Chippendale fret-work, from the Pompeian parlour to the great tapestry-hung hall which stood unchanged, as it had been designed two hundred and fifty years before; to sit, hour after hour, in the pillared shade looking out on the terrace.

Category:
Samuel Postell Jul 30, 2018

Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is the only book in which the author writes what cannot be written. The book is highly experiential, arguably to the point of superfluity. Among my students, the whaling chapters are those which push them to give up the fight. For myself, my first copy of Moby Dick was burnt upon Ishmael’s description of the Italian paintings of Christ wherein the narrator claims that they are most accurate because they capture the “hermaphroditical” character of the Son.

Category:
Adam Andrews Mar 7, 2018

Have you ever read “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” William Wordsworth’s famous 1807 poem about the daffodils? It is worth quoting in full, and for a reason that you may not have considered:

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Adam Andrews Jan 31, 2018

In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis cautions us against idolizing our memories of the past: “they are only the scent of a flower we have not found,” he says.

I am sure he chose that image because of a flower’s beauty, but I wonder if he had in mind how fleeting that beauty was designed to be. I wonder if he was intentionally echoing the prophet Isaiah, who said, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field…the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (40:6-8)

Adam Andrews Jan 18, 2018

My high school students cannot tolerate ambiguity. This is why they have a hard time with the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf.

Listen to this famous pronouncement from the poems eponymous hero:

For every one of us, living in this world
Means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
Win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
Win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
That will be his best and only bulwark. (1384-89)

Eric Wearne Aug 16, 2017

As the school year begins, many high school students will soon encounter To Kill a Mockingbird in their English classes. Those who have read the book will remember that a good bit of the action takes place in and around the Finch children’s school–their walks past Boo Radley’s house, the fight Scout gets into over the work Atticus does for Tom Robinson, the school play with Scout dressed as a ham.

Category:
Heidi White May 19, 2017

It is said that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who distill people into two kinds of people, and those who do not.

Category:
Joshua Leland Jan 31, 2017

My three-year-old daughter, Alethea, is plenty old enough to feed herself when we sit down to the table for dinner, but sometimes she doesn't want to. She will leave her food untouched until it is stone-cold because she would rather someone to spoon the food from the plate into her mouth. 

Category:
Adam Andrews Nov 3, 2016

Here at Center for Lit, we regularly ask students in our online Lit classes the question, “Who is the protagonist of this story?” Although the answer is often obvious, a discussion of this question almost always helps students relate to the author’s themes more profoundly.

Pages