To conclude, we will discuss literature that not only is mimetic to our twenty first century's culture, but to the disciplines our class has considered: philosophy, history, science and literature. To begin to acquire wisdom, however difficult that term may be to define, is to understand that no discipline exists in isolation. It is an unfortunate consequence of contemporary education that students and teachers go from class to class, often failing to make appropriate synthesizing connections so that a glimpse of the totality may be obscured. Recall how we began our study of philosophy--[Click here to recall]:
"Building subject area expertise or developing an awareness of the potential value of an isolated piece of information does not occur overnight," she said. "It is developed over time."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF AGENT ROWLEY'S ASSESSMENT NOW THAT OUR COURSE IN COMPLETED?
Locate a copy of the poem Cargoes by John Masefield. Note that the poem has many metaphors in its three short stanzas. If we look at them comparatively, what issues in this class have we studied that the poem dramatizes? Why, for instance, is chronology so important and the poet's use of connotation?
Locate a copy of On the Pulse of the Morning by Maya Angelou who wrote it for President Clinton's inaugural. Note the poem's major themes and ideas. What does Angelou believe about history, and man's hope for the future? What ideas have we discussed from past literary periods that the poem embodies?
TECHNOLOGY HINT: Where would you look?
The major work for the modern period will be A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter Miller.
The novel dramatizes a view of history that this course traced. [Recall the views of history presented initially Click here.] Critics have reacted very favorably to the book comparing it to Brave New World. Classification is difficult: it is a novel of mystery, adventure, gothic horror, science fiction, philosophy, religion, Catholicism, and for us it is all of these plus a complete summary of the content of this course. Every idea we have discussed is reflected in this book.
CLICK HERE to find a comprehensive Study Guide to Canticle
1. Find out some information about Walter Miller, especially regarding his career in World War II. NOTE: the novel has its own WEB page. With the recent dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C, May 2004, and 60 Minutes' moving tribute to the fallen in the Middle East War [May 30, 2004], may survivors have poignantly spoke of their experiences. How does Miller's experiences compare? What happened to him?
2. Why was Monte Casino so important in the writing of the novel?
3. What do you consider to be several important ideas Miller dramatizes?--see notes for each epoch below.
4. Note that the novel covers several historical epochs--what are they, and how is each characterized?
5. How do the epochs relate?
6. How are nominalism and realism reflected in the book?
7. For each epoch, identify the characters who are nominalists, realists, or some combination of both. Why does it matter who believes what?
8. An important figure of speech is irony. Find examples of its use.
9. Relate ideas in the novel to each of the literary periods we have covered.
10. Many quotations including the section heading are in Latin--you may find the translations to the Latin phrases on the internet.
11. There are many allusions to the Bible and common Catholic Church prayers/ Note them.
12. When was the novel written, and what great event in church history was about to occur?
13.This novel is a book of ideas more than character--note how the ideas mentioned below are developed in the appropriate section.
THE THREE EPOCHS
PART ONE--FIAT HOMO
Some key characters: Arkos - Cheroki - Leibowitz - Francis - Simpletons
Date: where and when are we, and what came before?
flame deluge simplification memorabilia
scholasticism nominalism and realism
fallout metaphysics induction
printing press canonization
irony of plenitude
transition to the next epoch
PART TWO-FIAT LUX:
Some key characters: Apollo - Paulo - Korhhoer - Hannegan - Thon Taddeo - Armbruster
Date: where and when are we, and how does this epoch relate to
the previous one?
epistemology and Descartes nominalism and realism
the cross and the arc lamp
the theme of the cycle
the role of knowledge and its guardianship
the relationship between scripture and science technology
war and its causes
Genesis and the creation of man
PART THREE-FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA:
Some key characters: Zerchi - Cors - Grales - Rachel - mother and child
date: where are we, and how does this epoch relate to the previous one?
nuclear war the theme of historical cycle
the importance of the starship and the church
the role of God and human suffering
the debate between theology and science
pain and suffering and the church and ethics
WHO seems to be common to all three epochs? Why? What is his importance?