It was my great blessing to have had excellent English teachers from seventh grade through college. They each had a gift of teaching, but they each also had a passion for what they were teaching. They took me behind the story so that I could see it was a story, yes, but it was also a lesson about life, an inspiration, a pathway of imagination, a structure through which poured ideas, beliefs, assertions, and principles.
And this was fiction I’m talking about.
I saw courage and struggle in The Old Man and the Sea. I found basic ideas of good and evil in Great Expectations and David Copperfield. I learned about pride and ambition in Julius Caesar. I was taught about people and race in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I fought against impossible odds and experienced what it meant to be the odd man out in Don Quixote. And I read in The Canterbury Tales that human nature was the same in the 20th(and 21st) century as it was in the 14th.
My English teachers have an heir. Her name is Karen Swallow Prior. She teaches at Liberty University in Virginia. She’s published several works, including Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (2012) and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More, Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (2014). And she’s just published On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Literary Life.