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Virtue in Literature (9) – The Hiding Place: Mercy (9th Grade)

The twentieth century was the bloodiest century in history. Take that in for a second. We are accustomed to think of the Middle Ages as barbaric and “Dark”, but the economic pressures of a subsistence agrarian economy limited the extent and length of their wars, holy days in the church limited when wars could be …

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Virtue in Literature (8) – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Magnanimity (12th Grade)

One of my favorite anecdotes about Julius Caesar is as follows. Caesar and some of his men were in a rural area and invited to a private dinner. Their hosts, wanting to please them, tried to cook fancy Roman food. As part of the dinner they cooked asparagus in oil, but being provincials they confused …

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Virtue in Literature (7) – Red Scarf Girl: Loyalty (9th Grade)

In Red Scarf Girl Ji-li Jiang recounts her experience of living through Mao’s Cultural Revolution as a young girl. When the story begins, Mao and the Chinese Communist Party have already been in power for nearly two decades. But because their government, like all socialist and communist movements, did not pay attention to economic and …

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Virtue in Literature (6) – Antigone: Justice (10th Grade)

Antigone is a young girl that has suffered much. At the beginning of Sophocles’s famous drama, she, already an orphan, has just watched both her brothers die. But not only have they died, they have killed one another in an attempt to control their city, Thebes. Her brother Eteocles sided with the incumbent leaders and …

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Virtue in Literature (5) – Carry on Mr. Bowditch: Fortitude (5th Grade)

“It’s easy to fight when you’re winning; It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave, When the dawn of success is beginning. But the man who can meet despair and defeat With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing; The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height Is the Man who can …

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Virtue in Literature (2) – The Odyssey: Hope (7th Grade)

When most people think about Homer’s Odyssey, they think about bizarre monsters and odd happenings—Circe turning men into animals, a cyclopes eating sailors, Poseidon sending storms, etc. But these mythical sections actually compose a rather small part of the story, and for my money at least, they are the least interesting parts of the book. More …

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