Last week, I argued that English education, far from being an ivory-tower pastime unnecessary for life, is actually necessary for our well-being and a healthy society. Yet everyone has been suspicious of an English teacher, wondering if the individual at the white board just made up that symbolism, theme, or foreshadowing to keep themselves employed. Just […]Read More Two Ways English Teachers Sabotage Their Own Profession
You have very strong opinions about Paradise Lost. You are a total snob about the meter in children’s books. You are used to the question, “What do you plan on doing with your major? Teach?” (You really don’t know what you’re going to do with your major. You will probably teach.) You are unable to […]Read More You Might Be a Literature Major If…
Stephen Koch writes the following about Lucie Manette, the ideal woman in Tale of Two Cities: “She is a flawless paragon of sweetness and love, and the way we know it is true sweetness, true love, is that both are defined by the absolute absence of any conflicting impulse whatsoever. In two plain words, she […]Read More Are “Good Guys” Boring?
Happy Tolkien Week to one and all! One of the aspects of Tolkien’s work that fascinates me is its depiction of Evil. Not only can this mild-mannered, somewhat niggling professor write some truly terrifying scenes, but I also appreciate the thematic truths that inform his portrayal of Evil. I love a good subtle villain as […]Read More Tolkien’s Three Satans and Why They Matter
Periodically, I teach a survey-style course on the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. One of our long-running discussion topics in the class is music: both authors’ works are filled with it. What’s more, when both authors give us creation accounts of their worlds–Middle-Earth in The Silmarillion, and Narnia in Magician’s Nephew–both worlds […]Read More The Inklings and Mr. Rogers Explain the Source of Music’s Power