When people talk about influential pieces of American literature, there are a few titles you can just about guarantee will be thrown into the discussion, i.e. To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, Huckleberry Finn, and oh yeah, Of Mice and Men (kudos to Steinbeck for making my off-the-cuff list twice). Chances are that even if you haven’t read any of these titles (though that is unlikely, knowing how popularly they are assigned as staples of high school reading lists), you have at the very least heard of them. Continue Reading ›
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It may just be impossible to consider classic American literature without delving into the story of To Kill a Mockingbird. Written by Harper Lee and published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most well-known and impactful works of literature within the last century, and arguably on a more historical level as well. The novel tackles the realities of racial inequalities, gender roles, and class-based hierarchies as they existed in the 1930s, particularly in the American Deep South. Harper Lee was raised in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama and grew up experiencing life as it appears in her novel. Her father was even a lawyer who may have provided a great deal of inspiration for the character Atticus; in his day, Lee’s father worked to defend two black men accused of the murder of a white store clerk. Continue Reading ›
In high school, it is pretty commonplace to have textbooks provided for you—and, assuming you return them, you don’t have to pay a dime. But college students (or high schoolers taking special classes with fancy books) know that books can get a little… let’s say pricey. Though a more precise description would be something along the lines of astronomically expensive. Continue Reading ›
Seattle Shakespeare fans got to celebrate in the run-up to the Bard’s birthday (or deathday, if you’re the glass-half-empty sort) with the arrival of the First Folio at the Central Library.
An impressive gilt-edged tome of nine hundred pages, the first compilation of Shakespeare’s plays was opened to Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy. Continue Reading ›
April is a fabulous month for all sorts of reasons: the sun is brighter, the temperature is higher, the flowers are blooming… And this month has a lot to do with Shakespeare. If you haven’t already noticed, we at the ‘Notes are big fans of the Bard, and April gives us even more excuses to talk about him than usual. Not only was our main man born on April 26th (1564), but he died on April 23rd (1616)—that’s two days this month that we get to think all about Shakespeare! And if that isn’t reason enough (and it usually is), this particular year is a special one as it marks Shakespeare’s 400th death-aversary. While the prospect of celebrating someone’s death may strike you as grim, we choose not to think of it that way and rather consider the fact that even four hundred years after his death, the modern world still looks to Shakespeare’s work both for entertainment and as a classic guide to writing, and that’s pretty astounding. Continue Reading ›
If you’re a student, you know that the coming of spring is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the sun is coming out of hiding (if only a little bit at a time), the temperature is higher, and the days are longer; it becomes more and more difficult to focus on schoolwork when the spring air is calling you outside. But then, on the other hand, you have the most dreaded of exams: the final exams. Everything you’ve learned over the past year/semester/quarter is all coming back to you—and you’re expected to regurgitate all of that knowledge back on paper. No, thanks? Continue Reading ›