Dead White Men

Dickens. Tolstoy. Twain. Dead white men sit at the helm of literary esteem and their novels have dominated the lists of classics taught in schools around the globe. The merit of these works cannot be overstated, and so it is surprising that they are becoming more frequently (and sadly) dismissed. With the newfound emphasis of celebrating diversity … More Dead White Men

A Choice of Weapons

I read Gordon Parks’s biography 15 years ago. I was teaching in the South Bronx at the time, and was holed up in the disheveled, musty book room trying to find a book to teach my Sophomores. Sitting on the shelf, next to several tattered editions of the 1971 paperback The Negro in the City was a lone copy … More A Choice of Weapons

Whatever it takes…

Some people are so amazing it defies comprehension. More and more, I have the impression that the generations of the Great Wars were comprised of particularly resilient and incredible individuals. Once such man is Joe Rantz, an American rower who helped the USA win 1936 Olympic Gold. As I read his story, I was impressed by … More Whatever it takes…

A Plea for Porn (and other Women’s Rights)

The Adult Film Industry is still a taboo subject despite the burgeoning sex trade. But by disparaging and isolating adult film actresses, we are opening the floodgates. These actresses are making a choice. They are willingly using their bodies to earn a living, and there are several organizations to help ensure that the actresses can … More A Plea for Porn (and other Women’s Rights)

Bound By Duty: A closer look at The Good Earth

Pearl S. Buck deserved her 1938 Nobel Prize. The daughter of missionaries, Buck was raised in China and projected her nuanced understanding of the culture into her beautifully crafted literary works. The Good Earth, arguably her most famous piece, chronicles the life of Wang Lung, a peasant farmer who rises from humble beginnings to establish … More Bound By Duty: A closer look at The Good Earth

Things We Learn from Literature

“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain Sometimes “the rest” includes ourselves. I decided to revisit Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I knew I didn’t fully appreciate the when the teacher assigned it in 11th grade. I couldn’t appreciate Twain’s brilliant research of dialects, recognize … More Things We Learn from Literature