In my last two blog posts, I’ve aimed a bit higher than my normal fare. Usually on my blog, I like to stick to small claims, like “Mortal Engines is underrated” or “Here’s the personal application I took from overanalyzing the first twenty minutes of the original Mary Poppins” (one of my better posts, I […]Read More Should We Read Post-modernism?
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
Have you ever heard the short song “What Do You Do with a BA in English?” What do you do with a B.A. in English, / What is my life going to be? / Four years of college and plenty of knowledge, / Have earned me this useless degree. / I can’t pay the bills […]Read More An Apology for English Literature
There is a kind of mother who seems to hear the true calling of her life in her newborn baby’s cry. A mother who tells other expecting women, “When you see that baby for the first time, your whole world changes. It’s love at first sight!” There is a kind of mother who seems to […]Read More “Not a Mother-Woman”
One morning on my patio, I turned to one of our potted plants and beheld an audacious fuzzy caterpillar energetically exploring the leaves. He stepped so lively that he won my heart, and I thought, “Why not take him inside and let him pupate and become a moth, and we’ll have some opportunity for Nature […]Read More Myth: The Secret Ingredient to Modernity
In his very excellent and moving book C. S. Lewis: Man of Letters, Thomas Howard writes of Lord of the Rings: “We find at work in that world such notions as majesty and mystery and purity and nobility and taboo and heroism and so forth—all of which we tend to attach to ‘antiquity’” (46). Nobility. […]Read More When You Feel Small
There’s a sonnet by Charlotte Smith, opposing the constrictive societal expectations of her time, called “On Being Cautioned Against Walking on an Headland Overlooking the Sea, Because It Was Frequented by a Lunatic” (perhaps my favorite title for a sonnet ever, but that’s beside the point). Is there a solitary wretch who hies To the […]Read More The Tyranny of Freedom
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…
Last week, I introduced the idea that often, “good guys” can come across as boring. I’m not sure if this tendency is a deficiency in the way they are written (i.e., the author’s understanding of what constitutes “goodness” is shallow) or a deficiency in the way we perceive them (as in: being in mental turmoil/moral […]Read More Making Good Look Good: Top 5 Non-Boring Good Guys
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?