Monthly Archives: October 2018

Pinocchio, a Horror Story

Disney’s “Pinocchio” sugarcoats the original, which is the stuff of nightmares. Happy Halloween.

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GOP Is Jake from “Lonesome Dove”

In failing to hold Trump accountable, the GOP is behaving like Jake Spoon in “Lonesome Dove,” who lacks a moral compass.

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Life Is a Reality TV Show, My Friend

Watching “Cabaret” in the wake of the Squirrel Hill massacre accentuated the rise of anti-Semitism in American politics.

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Life Was Simple before the Angel

Kilian McDonnell’s poem about Mary captures the difficulty of life as an unwed mother–and as one touched by God.

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Calculated Hysteria over Refugees

Brian Bilston’s clever poem about refugees captures America’s split over the issue while Silko’s apocalyptic vision matches white nationalist nightmares.

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Wiglaf on Helping Those Who Resist Help

Adolescents often are reluctant to help friends who wish to keep their troubles secret. Teaching “Beowulf” in high school can get at this problem.

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Sen. Flake Is No Hamlet

Comparisons of Sen. Flake to Hamlet over the Brett Kavanaugh is an insult to Hamlet.

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The Trauma of Lost Privilege

Few things are more traumatic that losing one’s privileges, as Amy Tan shows in “Valley of Amazement.”

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Imagining Little Ocean’s Future

Looking for the literary significance of my latest grandchild, I turn to Walcott, Whitman, Masefield, Coleridge, and Byron. What emerges is a mystical seeker.

Posted in Browning (Elizabeth Barrett), Byron (Lord Gordon), Clifton (Lucille), MacPherson (James), Masefield (John), Sterne (Lawrence), Walcott (Derek), Whitman (Walt), Yeats (William Butler) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


  • 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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