Scripture Verse of the Day

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Rich Classic American Literary History

I just got finished reading T12 a short story from Nathaniel Hawthorne called THE MIRACULOUS PITCHER. Personally, I find it a very intriguing story with virtually timeless language and timeless reality. Some classic stories from early Americana require a bit of translating when reading in today's society. Supernatural events noted in the Bible become fascinating observations by people who have forgotten that God is, was, and evermore shall be. Spirit realm visits our mortal realm in ways that leave us questioning our own sensibilities at times, then and perhaps especially now, as is evident in this story.

As I was reading this story, I was pleased to hear T12 comment about his Biblical recognition of similar elements illustrated in The Miraculous Pitcher. I reminded him that we have the privilege to see these comparisons today. During Hawthorne's day, those stories may have been considered more abstract and "out there", but in some ways, the Bible was considered a more serious book of study 200+ years ago, and even though the stories may have been lighthearted, I'm quite sure the serious morals demonstrated in these stories may have produced a solemn attitude in anyone who read them. Today, one may need to have the Bible beside them to compare the storytellings to it, discerning the morality from the fantastic.

When I searched for Nathaniel Hawthorne on the Internet, I was struck by the similarities between his friends. It's almost like they all attended a writer's convention to write the same kinds of stories..well, Hawthorne did meet some of them at college. :) I will need to pick up and re-read Herman Melville's MOBY DICK because it was supposedly dedicated to Hawthorne. T12 does not care for MOBY DICK, tho, b/c it's too dark and depressing for his taste. I was familiar with Henry David Thoreau's WALDEN and CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, tho I need to read them again. I've got a few little short works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, plus a few works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's neat to see how similar their works are, but yet they are still distinct. I'm sure some of it has to do with the fact that Hawthorne went to school with them!

I've got a lot of reading to catch up on for myself. I wish T12 was interested in TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN. I actually liked reading those when I was in school; then again, I was a weird one like that. ;) My favorite past-time growing up was to either have an armload of books to read during the weekend, or if I couldn't do that, I read the dictionary or encyclopedia. Weird, huh? Oh well. That was me then. :} I've not changed too much since then.
So far, in 6th grade, they are not reading classic stories, which kind of makes me sad. I fully understand that 20-some odd years have passed since I was in school, and we evidently have an array of "new classics", but there is sooooooooo much to learn from the real classics! I've got a few of the books lined up on my bookshelf right now. Works by O'Henry, Samuel Clemens, James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, and many others are just waiting to be read and read again.

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