Friday, April 7, 2017

{SQT} Myrtle Beach Edition

1. Sunday Travel to Myrtle Beach

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2. Monday in Myrtle Beach

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3. Tuesday in Myrtle Beach

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4. Wednesday in Myrtle Beach

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5. Literature of Late

I find that when I'm not pregnant, I read non-fiction exclusively but, when I am pregnant, I move into all fiction. Why that is, I'm not sure, but it's a pattern I've seen for numerous pregnancies now.

I recently saw mention of 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley and, realizing I'd never read it and learning that it is an edifying novel, I picked up a copy, thinking it would last me two weeks, including our beach vacation. Instead if lasted me five days of impassioned reading, during which time each morning I'd write the next installment to my literary-minded aunt, so we could analyze it together.

The reader having a background of Christian doctrine and Biblical literacy makes what would be a decent and interesting story become a tragic tale challenging us to look deep into ourselves and humanity.

'Frankenstein' is an absolutely beautiful novel which examines deeply the Christian themes of Creation, duty, that owed by father to son, the obligation of naming, and asks the question, 'who is the monster?' Do we believe the words on the page that the creature assembled of dead body parts is the monster, or do we examine further to decide if the handsome, morally vacuous scientist is the monster? This is a book requiring constant attention to words versus actions.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that all 90+ theater and movie productions of 'Frankenstein' are nothing like the actual novel, and that they will disappoint the reader thoroughly taken with the book, merely presenting a monster lurching about insensibly.

This novel contains some moments violence (strangulation) and no sexuality: I highly recommend it for late middle school and above.

Having run out of my novel, I then picked up 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson. Reading the academic introduction of this short story was particularly useful because knowing the background of the author's morally compromised decisions and his Scottish Calvinist religious background provides needful depth to the themes explored.

It was also of a writer's interest to learn that the author wrote this 64,000-word masterpiece in less than a week, and that included writing the first draft in two days, then burning it in the fire, before telling his family not to disturb him unless the house was burning down, writing the second draft in the following four days, and putting the nearly unedited, perfect copy in the post to his publishing house on the sixth day. (Normal, steady writing is 1,000 words per day, not 10,000+ words per day.)

'Jekyll and Hyde' is a story also benefitting, and I say outright requiring, an understanding of the various Christian denominations' beliefs about sin, mercy, and redemption. Can sin and goodness be utterly separated in oneself? Is the alternate evil being free morally to do anything or, ultimately, does the one creature bear culpability for all? What happens to the soul when we let sins become habits? (Habits is a theme of the story.) And, as in 'Frankenstein,' what is the duty of the father to the son?

The structure of this tale is also worth great interest. The reader is first left in the dark, following a mystery, trying to piece together nearly inscrutable clues (although not so confusing if one reads the academic introduction!). Then the narrator of the tale thus far (the lawyer, Utterson) vanishes and is replaced by two documents written at a prior time (earlier in the tale) by a friend and by Jekyll himself, leaving the story to end seemingly abruptly, without denouement--but it works. Unusual structure, but it works, and then a reader-who-is-a-writer is left pondering into the night any other ways in which one could have effectively structured this tale, but being unable to find a manner as good.

I also recommend 'The Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' to those in late middle school and older.

Next, I read the remainder of various authors' short stories in the collection containing 'Jekyll and Hyde.'

6. Cute Moment

"Mama, may I please sleep with my football tonight?" (Joseph, age 4)

7. Final Day of CCE 2016-2017

And thus ends another year of CCE! We are always very ready for a break by the end . . . and then excited for it to begin again next fall.

Grades PK, K, and 1 (Margaret)

Grades PK-1 singing the Regina Caeli

Grades PK-1 singing the Mysterium Fidei

Grades 2-6 (Mary, John)

Grades 2-6 singing the Credo

John receiving certificates for memorizing History and Geography

Mary receiving certificates for memorizing History and Geography

Margaret receiving a certificate for memorizing History

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the unexpected reading suggestions, as I almost never read fiction anymore and should! I am interested to know what other titles Mary Shelley has written, or is she a prolific author and I should know?!
    Congratulations on finishing what seemed to be another wonderful CCE year!