Monthly Archives: May 2015

Though Thou Art in Thy Blood, Live

Spiritual Sunday A couple of weeks ago my library reading group discussed Marilynne Robinson’s Lila, the third novel in what one member described as a triptych. I love Robinson’s depiction of the Congregationalist minister John Ames in Gilead, and Lila gives us the backstory of the woman that Ames marries as an old man. (Home, […]

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A Sense of Wonder at the Zoo

Taking my son to the National Zoo recalled A. A. Milne’s “At the Zoo.” As with Christopher Robin, the elephants were the star attraction.

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Milton Cautions vs. Scientific Arrogance

One of my science students found a way to examine her frustrations at her limited knowledge by looking at Satan and Eve in “Paradise Lost.”

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Kafka’s K Would Feel at Home with FISA

A “Washington Post” quiz comparing Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” with the United Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court comes up with some disturbing resemblances.

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Vacations Must Be More than Photographs

Wendell Berry warns that photographs can come between us and a profound vacation experience. I’ll keep that in mind in my upcoming trip to Machu Picchu.

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Soldier, Rest, Thy Warfare O’er

In “Soldier Rest,” Sir Walter Scott captures how inviting death can look to those caught up in battle’s throes.

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To See God, the Eye Must Catch Fire

Blake’s poem “Pentecost” explains what is necessary to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit.

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Stephen King & the War for America’s Soul

In “The Stand,” Stephen King sees the dark and the light fighting for control of America’s soul. His book had the Vietnam War in mind but it is also applicable to future policy in the Middle East.

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Liberals Must Reclaim Harrison Bergeron

Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” has been adopted by the rightwing in their opposition to governmental regulations. It’s actually a fairly liberal story.

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  • 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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