I teach English at work, and home school so you would think that grammar would not be something that scares me, but it does. I was excited to be able to read a book published by Analytical Grammar called The Eternal Argument ($24.95). This book was written by Robin Finley a 34 year veteran teacher of English, and trust me it is very interesting and well worth the read.
My plan was to read this aloud to my family chapter by chapter, but it didn't quite work out as planned. I actually read most of it myself because to tie everyone down to my schedule wasn't happening. However I did discuss this with anyone who would listen to me A LOT in fact I re-read multiple parts to my niece who was visiting from England, my husband, and my older two kids.
I have taken this book everywhere with me this summer and it doesn't look too good anymore. It has been rained on, covered in sand, and dropped in a puddle of water. But believe me I kept on reading.
I took it to the lake to sit in the sun and finish it. It was also a great opportunity to discuss some of my favorite parts with everyone (captive audience in between sea-doo and canoe rides). This book is recommended for grades 8 and up, however even Boo had a great lot to say about the points we discussed. This may be impart to the books she reads but none the less she had no problem understanding the points and discussing them along with the rest of us.
So what is the book about...
The book talks about how there has been one eternal argument basically since the beginning of time as to whether or not man needs God, humanism and theism. The pendulum has swung backwards and forwards between the two. The author explains how the literature of the time shows us not only the views of the author but also the world views of the time. If you can understand the world views of the time period a book is written it will give you further insight into the overall meaning of the book.
The author mentions three things that will help us understand western literature.
1. Greek and Roman Mythology
2. King James Version of the Bible
3. Aurthurian Legend
This was very interesting to me. Jam my major reader LOVES Greek and Roman Mythology and anything about Aurthurian Legend. We also only use the King James Version of the Bible. I have already got Jam on board to read this book so we can discuss it in more detail. However we will only do this for chapters 1-13 the author recommends that chapter 14 be read by the adult.
I will definitely read this book again slowly, reading each of the many books that are discussed throughout the chapters (I will maybe even re-read those that I have read before).
The Republic, by Plato
The Song of Roland
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes
Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S Eliot
The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
This book is a VERY interesting read for anyone who loves or teaches literature. Although my copy looks a little worse for wear, it will definitely always have a place on my bookshelves. I have always valued the ability to read and discuss literature. We learn towards a Charlotte Mason type education and so this book has given me excellent insights and new ways to look past the obvious in the books we will read in the future.
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