Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lighten Up, Germany, and Save the Euro

The German film “Mostly Martha” may help explain why the German Parliament has just extended the bailout to Greece and other indebted southern European nations.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Finding a Place Where Hate Won’t Grow

In charged Israeli-Palestinian and Christian-Muslim relations, Naomi Shihab Nye is looking at how to move past the suffering and hate.

Posted in Nye (Naomi Shihab) | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Teaching Kids to Stand Up to Bullies

Michael Gerson writes that “Lord of the Flies” gives kids a picture of the bullying they experience and “To Kill a Mockingbird” the courage to stand up to it.

Posted in Golding (William), Lee (Harper), Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s Secret Service as Minderbinder

The crazy logic of Milo Minderbinder in Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22” shows up in Pakistan’s Secret Service using funds donated by the U.S. to hire terrorists to attack the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

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The Vital Importance of Rereading

Literature makes us smarter–intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually–but the effects also fade. When we teach a work, therefore, it is always necessary that we reread it.

Posted in Allen (Woody) | 3 Comments

Blowing for Hope in the Face of Darkness

In honor of the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days, here is a 1945 poem by Yiddish poet Kadya Molodowsky in which “The Shofar Blower” faithfully sounds the traditional horn even in the face of utter darkness.

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Life Is So Short, Fall in Love, Dear Maiden

Akira Kurosaw’s magnificent film “Ikiru” reminds us, among other things, that when we give our lives to the betterment of our communities, we redeem our lives.

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American Politics as Lord of the Flies

Recent Republican political tactics against Barack Obama have me thinking of the battle in William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies.”

Posted in Golding (William) | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Here Comes Autumn, Her Skirts A-Twirl

Autumn kicks off this week–Friday by some calculations–so here’s a poem by Scott Bates to celebrate her coming.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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