I thought I understood satire when I read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” But reading Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels solidified the meaning of satire for me. The two works seemed to illustrate the difference between telling and showing. Reading “A Modest Proposal” was like reading a textbook example of satire, while experiencing the nuances and humor

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I loved reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, despite the fact that it was written with 1700s archaic language, with long sentences stringing thoughts together, with essentially no dialog and no characters (beyond Robinson Crusoe himself), and with basically no plot. And yet, I loved it. Putting in to words why I loved it is

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In the history of western children’s literature, after Pilgrim’s Progress came Isaac Watt’s elegies for children, Divine Songs. But while Pilgrim’s Progress was actually intended for adults and children learned from it, Divine Songs was intended to be for children. And while Pilgrim’s Progress actually does have some relevance for Christians today (even given how

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Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan was one of the first modern novels when it was published in 1679 and 1685 because it uses dialogue as a main tool to drive the story. As an allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress plainly tells the story of each Christian’s lifelong quest from a sinful life to eternal life using the

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My son is musical. As a newborn, his body would instantly start to relax if I started to sing to him. Now, at 13 months old, he doesn’t calm so easily. But if he hears music, he dances. He laughs when he hears any rhythm. His favorite toys make music. He likes to touch the

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In medieval children’s primers, the alphabet was the main tool of learning and was often portrayed in a way that also taught religion (Seth Lerer, Children’s Literature, page 61). Poems and teachings would be in the order of the alphabet. This had biblical precedence, as the 22 stanzas of Psalm 118 “use the twenty-two letters

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