Tag Archives: literature

Reblog: Sorry Gentlemen, This Homeschooled Girl’s a Feminist

Homeschoolers Anonymous

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on January 29, 2014.

You know those moments where you step back from something and you’re not even sure what you just read? I’m having one of those moments, because I just stumbled upon Louis Markos’ article, “Why Homeschooled Girls Are Feminism’s Worst Nightmare.” Speaking as a homeschooled girl and a feminist, let’s see what Louis has to say, shall we?

I have become famous (or infamous) at my university for my ability to spot immediately a homeschooled girl, at least the kind of homeschooled girl who majors in the Humanities (English, Writing, History, Philosophy, Christianity, Art, Music) or who joins an Honors college devoted to a classical Christian curriculum. What is my method for spotting such literary homeschooled girls? If when I speak to a freshman…

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Every dog has its day… even me

GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS. My English teacher acknowledged me as the class expert on Tolkien. My existence is now justified.

Background: A lot of you I’ve already told, but for my friends who don’t know, I’ve been attending a private Christian high school for my senior year. I really (like, really really reallyyy) love it, and I think my teachers are pretty awesome, especially my English teacher. Anyway, in Modern Lit we’re reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and this discussion ensued during class on Monday:

*discussion about the role of humans in LotR*

Girl: Isn’t the wizard Gandalf a man?

Me and a guy: Uh, he’s a wizard!

Mrs. Gorham (teacher): Well, he is a wizard, but I think he’s basically human…

Me: nonononono. NO.

Mrs. Gorham: *laughing* There’s always a Tolkien expert… would you care to enlighten us about the nature of wizards?

Me: *grinning like there’s no tomorrow* *sits up* *clears throat*

Mrs. Gorham: Hush everyone! The expert has the floor *gestures to me dramatically*

Me: *briefly explains how Ilúvatar sent the Istari to Middle-earth*

Mrs. Gorham: Okay, and you got this from the Silmarillion, right?

Me: *nods*

Mrs. Gorham: *tell the rest of the class what the Silmarillion is* …but I’ve never read it, and I only know a couple of people who have.

Me: *literal fistpump*

Guy sitting next to me: *grinning* You’re such a dork.

Me: I know.

And then throughout the rest of the class as she read parts of the book, she would ask me for pronunciation or to explain something… I’ve been waiting for my moment of recognition, and that was it.

As a side note… you have no idea how many times I’ve almost called her Ms. Gaines. They both start with a G, and they’re both awesome English teachers from awesome Christian schools. IT’S SO CONFUSING.

Sandbox 11: Bits and Pieces

this Sandbox was by far the most fun. the object was to put together the beginning and ending lines of 10 books, chosen for whatever reason we want. most of the ones I selected are from books that have some sort of special meaning to me, either for childhood memories or because of a part it played in my development as a teen. well, except for Frankenstein; that one I chose just because I wanted to. ;D my favorite of these would probably be Little House in the Big Woods, mainly for the childhood sentiments associated with it. my mom read it to me a couple of times when I was little, I’ve heard her read it to my sisters, and I’ve read it myself once or twice. the other one that I really like is The Hiding Place, for obvious reasons. I think it was the first book I ever read that actually made me (almost) cry.

Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

 First: Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

 Last: She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the fire-light and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne:

 First: In the year 1866 the whole maritime population of Europe and America was excited by a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon.

 Last: Two men only have a right to answer the question asked in the Ecclesiastes 6,000 years ago, ‘That which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?’ These two men are Captain Nemo and I.

 Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley:

 First: I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one  of the most distinguished of that republic.

 Last: He sprung from the cabin window, as he said this, upon the ice-raft which lay close to the vessel. He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance.

 Alone yet not Alone, by Tracy Michele Leininger:

 First: Barbara Leininger shielded her blue eyes from the sun as she looked up at the cornstalks that stretched high above her.

 Last: With tears of joy and a voice full of emotion, she whispered in Barbara’s ear: “I remembered my promise. I never lost the song of my heart!”

 The Hiding Place, bye Corrie Ten Boom:

 First: I jumped out of bed that morning with one question in my mind—sun or fog?

 Last: “Windowboxes,” I said. “We’ll have them at every window. The barbed wire must come down, of course, and then we’ll need paint. Green paint. Bright yellow-green, the color of things coming up new in the spring…”

 The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien:

 First: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

 Last: “…You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

“Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

 The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame:

 First: Long ago—might have been hundreds of years ago—in a cottage half-way between an English village and the shoulder of the Downs, a shepherd lived with his wife and their little son.

 Last: And, as they turned the last corner and disappeared from view, snatches of an old song were borne back on the night-breeze. I can’t be certain which of them was singing, but I think it was the Dragon!

 Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell:

 First: The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end.

 Last: My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my old friends under the apple trees.

 Just David, by Eleanor H. Porter:

 First: Far up on the mountainside the little shack stood alone in the clearing. It was roughly yet warmly built. Behind it jagged cliffs broke the north wind, and towered gray-white in the sunshine.

 Last: There in a quiet kitchen he plays to an old man and an old woman; and always to himself he says that he is practicing against the time when, his violin at his chin and the bow drawn across the strings, he shall go to meet his father in the far-away land, and tell him of the beautiful world he has left.

 The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis:

 First: In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall, there lived an Ape.

 Last: All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

NP1- Novel Analysis

so, this is my story analysis for the ten chapter novella i will be writing. TITLE suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated, seeing as the one i have now is painfully clichè. :P but really, suggestions on anything would be so very welcome. and thankfully, this analysis is a “working document that can be changed as needed.”

and my thoughts on the project thus far? GOOD GOSH, i hope i don’t die. i’m not even asking that i do well, i’m just asking that i SURVIVE. >_<

Title: The Legacy (title subject to change)

Author: Beth Campbell

Genre: Historical Fiction

Audience: Any literate person, particularly young adults.


Robert Valenti: Handsome, outgoing, brave, and purpose driven, Robert Valenti is a 27-year-old from California who joins the U.S. Army during World War II. He has a wife, Julie, and a young son, Karl. He has green eyes, dirty blonde hair, and a confident smile. Since he is an officer in the Army for most of the story, his attire consists of whichever uniform the occasion dictates. With his wife and son he is loving and kind. On the battlefield, he is quick, precise, and capable of making vital decisions.

Karl Valenti: The son of Robert Valenti, Karl is very young when his father dies, but the legacy left by Robert gives Karl a purpose that inspires him for the rest of his life. He becomes successful as a general in the U.S. Army, but, like his father, he is really a gentle soul. Not prone to complaining, he has great fortitude and takes everything in stride. He has blue eyes and brown hair.

Dwayne Carson: Karl’s best friend during childhood and adolescence, Dwayne’s life was affected not only by Karl’s friendship, but also by Robert Valenti’s heroism. He too joined the Army, although he retired from it after only a few years. He went on to become a math teacher, father, and grandfather. As a young man, he is athletic and is an especially fast runner. In the modern day scenes, he has grey hair, although it was light brown when he was younger. However, he always has his twinkling blue eyes and contagious laugh.

Zoe Carson: A 16-year-old California girl, Zoe is Dwayne’s granddaughter. Although rambunctious, energetic, and outgoing, she struggles with finding direction for her life. She has black hair, brown eyes, and is short in stature. Like her grandfather, she is athletic and loves to run.

Point of View

The POV will switch from 1st person, past tense to 3rd person, omniscient, past tense.


California. The Philippines. Although some events will take place in the modern day, the main focus of the story will be during WWII.

Plot Outline

This inspirational story starts out from the first person perspective of a modern day, California teenage girl. She is spending time with her grandfather when he gets a call that leads him to believe that his childhood friend, Karl Valenti, is trying to get back in contact with him. As they try to investigate the situation, the grandfather is excited by the memories that are flooding him, and he tells the incredible story of Karl’ father. At this point, it switches to third person perspective, and flashes back to the 1940’s. Robert Valenti is a young man with a wife and young son, when he joins the U.S. Army as an officer during WWII. When in the Philippine Islands, he courageously sacrifices his own life to save the lives of his men. His heroism becomes a constant source of inspiration in the life of his son Karl, who follows in his father’s footsteps and goes on to become a General in the U.S. Army.


[Under construction]


With hard work, determination, and purpose, you can accomplish your dreams and aspirations.

Literary Devices





I am particularly excited to begin writing this novel due to the fact that it is inspired by a true story (although the majority of the content will be fictional). I anticipate having to do a lot of research on the time period for this project.

Story Analysis- Mr. Midshipman Horblower

as you may have surmised from the J15 assignment, i have a great fondness for the Horatio Hornblower book series. this story analysis is not too different from my last description of Hornblower’s story, except that this one only covers the first book, is much more detailed, and of course, is more left-brain oriented. 



Title: Mr. Midshipman Hornblower.

Author: C.S. Forester.

Genre: Historical Fiction.

Audience: Any literate person.


Horatio Hornblower: An introverted, 17-year-old youth who has had a lonely childhood, Hornblower seeks a living as an officer in the British Royal Navy. He knows little of the occupation he has chosen, but his keen mathematical mind, quick learning abilities, and a good education have given him an advantage. He has no friends and very little money. He is constantly plagued by self-doubt, fear, depression, and loneliness. Despite his obvious lack of self-worth, he has a reckless courage and determination. He is tall, skinny, pitifully uncoordinated, and has dark eyes.

John Simpson: A swarthy, good-looking senior midshipman, Simpson is the official bully of the Justinian. He is not very intelligent, especially mathematically, and he holds grudges against anyone who is smarter than himself. He harbors a lot of anger, and takes it out by making the lives of the other midshipmen miserable. Due to his tyranny, he has no friends, although he does have cronies who carry out his sadistic bidding.

Sir Edward Pellew: The captain of the Indefatigable, Pellew is bold, intelligent, and becomes a sort of mentor to young Hornblower. The middle-aged captain is renowned and respected for his bravery and success, and he leads his crew with confidence. He occasionally has an outburst of anger and impatience, but is mostly level-headed and never acts in rashness.

The Duchess of Wharfedale: Although at first posing as a Duchess, and referred to as such, she is actually an actress by the name of Katherine Cobham. Under the guise of the Duchess, she has an uncivilized accent, is not particularly smart, and has a strange sense of humor. As herself, however, she is bright, charming, and brave. She is middle-aged and has bold blue eyes and a faded beauty.

Point of View

Third person; mainly told from Hornblower’s perspective, but sometimes from the perspective of someone who is observing him.


The time is 1793, just before the start of the Napoleonic Wars.  The location changes between various ships, including a battleship, a brig, a privateer, and a sloop; but the most prominent ship is a British frigate named the Indefatigable. Some time is also spent in a Spanish prison.

Plot Outline

As an inexperienced midshipman in His Majesty’s Royal Navy, Horatio Hornblower has much to learn. His limited nautical vernacular makes it difficult for him to assimilate, but his limited social skills are even worse. Faced with Spanish and French who would imprison him, bullying senior officers, and personal failure, he meets adventures and misadventures at every turn. Then, of course, there is his inescapable seasickness which he becomes regrettably infamous for. Through his determination, bravery, and self-sacrifice, he must prove to his peers and senior officers that he is made of mettle worth reckoning with. Most importantly, however, he must prove this to himself.


Man vs. self: Hornblower’s self-doubt and lack of self-esteem is crippling, and he must fight to overcome it to become a successful officer. His lack of coordination and natural skill also presents obstacles.

Man vs. man: When he first becomes a midshipman, Hornblower is mercilessly teased by the other midshipmen, particularly a bully named Simpson. They make fun of his inexperience, his shyness, his seasickness, and even his lonely childhood.

Man vs. man: Hornblower and the crew of his ships are often in battle with the French or Spanish.

Man vs. environment: Living at sea, one of Hornblower’s most constant battles is with the elements of nature. Gales, waves, running aground, and worst of all, fire are feared on the wooden ships. Also, as he is particularly prone to seasickness, simply being at sea causes  problems for Hornblower.


Although it is often difficult to do what is morally right, being honorable, courageous, and self-sacrificing will always benefit you in the end. Sometimes that benefit is through recognition, promotion, respect, etc., but sometimes it is simply through the satisfaction and self-worth that comes with knowing you did the right thing.

Literary Devices

Allusion: “So might Daniel have looked about him at the lions when he first entered their den.”

Flashback: “It was like the games Hornblower had played as a lonely little boy, when he had sat in the empty pig-trough and pretended he was cast away in an open boat.”

Personification: “… hope reasserted itself…”

Simile: “The British seamen were yelling like madmen.”


I personally enjoy this book because Horatio Hornblower is very relatable. I also find the nautical vocabulary and naval history vastly interesting. C.S. Forester writes with a style that is both intellectual and understandable.

J16-Writing Tips


despite the fact that i am a poor writer myself, i now have to give 5 tips to other writers! each of these tips is something that i’ve learned through personal experience– and i have by no means become a master at them. Here’s to all writers (including myself) getting even better at writing!


Tip 1: Use a wide variety of literary devices.
This first tip is one that I myself often forget. While it isn’t too difficult to utilize one or two literary devices that you are familiar with, it can be a challenge to remember that the metaphor is not the only device out there. Or maybe your preferred literary device is personification, in which case you might want to try using more metaphors. Or maybe you don’t use literary devices at all, in which case you need to get started!

Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” –Anton Chekhov.

Tip 2: Learn from your writing.
Your own writing can teach you a lot of things. It can teach you about yourself—your abilities, your faults, and your perspective on the world. Take advantage of that, and explore what depths of understanding your writing has in store for you.

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought. This in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.“– Norbet Platt.

Tip 3: Read, read, and read some more.
What better way to improve your writing than to read the works of others? You can learn what styles you like best and get ideas for how you want to write—you can also learn how not to write. From prolific novel masterpieces to simple short stories to children’s literature, reading is a way to ignite the imagination, find motivation, and transport yourself to another world.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.“– E.B. White.

Tip 4: Have no fear.
If you want to write that 50,000 word novel, then dive right in. If you have a thrilling tale to tell—let ‘em rip! If you’ve been holding back, now is the time to let go. Push all inhibitions aside and pour your soul out. Your writing is your own—don’t let fear or doubt dictate what you can and can’t do.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” — E.L. Doctorow.

Tip 5: Just keep writing, just keep writing…
Writer’s block: a writer’s worst nightmare. Whether novice or veteran, writers of all ages must find ways to fight this terrible foe. My best remedy is to simply start writing. Now, that might not sound like much of a solution, but it is. When you feel like you can’t go on and the words just won’t come, write about anything that comes to mind. You might not start off in the direction you want to go, but if you don’t get started in the first place, you won’t get anywhere at all.

Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. You can sit and look at a page for a long time and nothing will happen. Start writing and it will.” — Louis L’Amour.

CW14- My Media Autobiography

this assignment, to choose ten books/songs/poems/movies that chronicle my life and personality, was fun and challenging at the same time. part of the instruction was to be careful to choose media that actually reflect me, not just ones that are my favorites, and i was determined to do that at first. but the ones i chose– 4 songs, 4 books, 2 movies– ended up coming right back to my favorites anyway. i realized that the very thing that makes these my favorites is the same reason i chose them for the assignment: in each one, i connect with the author or a character in a way that makes me feel understood. 

Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary


Emily's runaway imagination

   When I was about eleven, I picked up this book and knew immediately that I was dealing with someone very much like myself. It tells the story of a girl with a vivid imagination who was known for believing in the very things she dreamed up. As a kid, that description would’ve pretty much summed up everything about me. If I could imagine something, it was true. Animals could talk. Magic was real. Even inanimate objects had personalities. Strangest of all, between the ages of four and six, I actually thought I was a dog.

   To be honest, I’m surprised my parents never considered committing me to a psychiatric ward…


Peter Pan

(Movie, Animated. 1953)


   Throughout my life, growing up was something I always thought would never really happen. It happens to everyone else—sure. But will it happen to me? Never!  Like the legendary Peter Pan, I wanted to remain a kid forever. To me, the realm of adulthood was frightening and enigmatic—not something to be desired.

   I think I was around the age of twelve when I realized that growing old was inevitable. But at the same time, I also realized that growing up was optional. So I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that matter how old I got—twenty… forty-five…  ninety—I would never forget what it was like to be a kid. I would always keep the “child inside me” alive and kicking. At heart, I will always be free and childlike.

    “All children, except one, grow up.”


Mess Of Me by Switchfoot


   This song is always a reminder to me that I’ve messed up; I’m a sinful, selfish, wretched human being, and I have no one to blame but myself. But, as the song states, I want to spend the rest of my life alive—not in death and decay. And I don’t have to lock my soul in a cage; by sacrificing His life for mine, Jesus gives me the daily chance to wipe the slate clean. I have made a mess of me, but He has made a saint of me.

 I’ve made a mess of me

I wanna get back the rest of me

I’ve made a mess of me

I wanna spend the rest of my life alive


  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien



   This trilogy in and of itself has played a huge part in my teenage years. I’ve read the books four times, watched the movies a dozen times, and you could probably say that I’m mildly obsessed with Middle Earth (my parents joke that I would go to hobbit college. It’s true.). But some of the themes present in these books also reflect themes in my life. For me, one of the most meaningful parts of the story is the example of friendship. As I get older, I realize more and more how truly blessed I have been in the way of friends. Godly, loyal, mature, always there for me, and just plain fun, my friends have helped shape me into the person I am today.

  “You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours—closer than you yourself keep it. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.”


Falling Up by Shel Silverstein



   A collection of poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein, this book reflects one hugely major part of my life: humor. I am almost constantly laughing or making people laugh. Like Silverstein’s poems, my humor is sometimes outright hilarious, sometimes silly and pointless, and oftentimes sarcastic. It was once said of me that ninety-nine percent of all the words I speak are sarcastic—which is not true, of course. It couldn’t be more than ninety-five percent. But seriously, I’m kidding.

 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.— Proverbs 17:22


Rise Above It by Switchfoot


   One lesson that I’ve been learning, particularly in this last year, is that no person and no circumstance can control who I am. No matter if I am being judged, feeling alone, or going through some kind of trial—God will always give me the strength to rise above it. I think I’ve always been something of a rebel, but lately I’ve been discovering how true it is that no one can tell me how to live my life. I will never let another tell my soul what to fear.

Just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you’re scared.

Just because it’s law don’t mean that it’s fair.

Never let another tell your soul what to fear.

I get so sick of it,

It feels so counterfeit.

I rise above it.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien



   This reflection is actually a paradox, because my personality is, in a way, the exact opposite of Bilbo Baggins’ personality. While he would have preferred staying home with his comfy chairs, I would rather seek out excitement and adventure. But both Bilbo and I had (and I still have) the same lesson to learn: what we most desire is not always what is best for us. Gandalf pushed Bilbo out the door to an adventure that would change his life. Likewise, sometimes when I can only see how a life-changing adventure could bring good things, God simply says, “No.”

   Oftentimes, immediately after disappointment I can see how it was for the best. Sometimes, however, it takes months or even years. There may even be some things I will never fully understand in this life.

 “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea—anytime you like. Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Good-bye!” With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem rude. Wizards after all are wizards.


True Grit

(Movie, 2010)


   The very title of this movie pretty much says it all. Like Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old girl bent on bringing justice to her father’s killer, I am stubborn, rugged, and outspoken. Although I’ve never formed a posse, I often take on challenges that no one expects, and I don’t let anything—fear, pain, doubt—get in my way.

 “Most girls like to play pretties, but you like guns do you?”                

Mattie Ross: “I do not care a thing in the world about guns. If I did, I would have one that worked.”


Tidal Wave by Owl City


   Let’s cut to the chase: sometimes I feel lonely. Clung to by insecurity. Followed by fear. Haunted by depression. When I go through times like that, this is always my go-to song. Adam Young (Owl City) so perfectly and beautifully articulates what it feels like to experience such uncertainty. But then he reminds me that “I’ve found a new Hope from above,” a Hope that transcends all fear and doubt. A Hope that will never let me down.

It hurts just to wake up whenever you’re wearing thin.

Alone on the outside, so tired of looking in.

The end is uncertain, and I’ve never been so afraid,

But I don’t need a telescope to see that there’s Hope,

And that makes me feel brave.


Amy’s Song by Switchfoot


  If I could have one thing said of me after I’m gone, I would want it to be said that I was on fire. I don’t want to be a lukewarm Christian; I want to be someone who makes a change—someone who was different. Someone who, like the girl in the song, leaves people burning with an unquenchable hunger for salvation.

Salvation is a fire in the midnight of the soul,

It  lights up like a can of gasoline.

Yeah, she’s a freedom fighter, she’s a stand-up kind of girl.

She’s out to start a fire in a bar-code plastic world.