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EIGHTH GRADE: Good Books Program Study Guide EIGHTH GRADE: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain EIGHTH GRADE: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
Our 8th grade Good Books Guide comes with a full-color front cover, Answer Key for each guide, True/False questions, and Essay questions to encourage young writers, and a synopsis of each book. Our Good Books Literature Guides were written by Dr. James S. Taylor, author of the widely acclaimed Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education. Dr. Taylor took his first formal course in Children’s Literature from Dr. Dennis Quinn at the University of Kansas and had many conversations concerning these poems and stories with his colleague, Dr. John Senior. He has taught Children’s Literature at the high school and college levels for nearly two decades. “What I have to say about the selections in these guides draws from my childhood memories and adult reflections as well as my conversations with Quinn and Senior. None of the age and literature categories used in the Academy Good Books grade list are absolute. Think of the Good Books (grade levels) as notes of music with the freedom to work up and down the scale as you see fit.” Of all the contenders for the titles of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Intended at first as a simple story of a boy's adventures in the Mississippi Valley - a sequel to Tom Sawyer - the book grew and matured under Twain's hand into a work of immeasurable richness and complexity. More than a century after its publication, the critical debate over the symbolic significance of Huck and Jim's voyage is still fresh, and it remains a major work that can be enjoyed at many levels: as an incomparable adventure story and as a classic of American humor. John Seelye's introduction cogently assesses the continuing impact of this novel on its readers and on other writers. A milestone in the history of popular theology, The Screwtape Letters is an iconic classic on spiritual warfare and the dynamics of temptation.This profound and striking narrative takes the form of a series of letters from Screwtape, a devil high in the Infernal Civil Service, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior colleague engaged in his first mission on earth, trying to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian. Although the young man initially looks to be a willing victim, he changes his ways and is "lost" to the young devil.Dedicated to Lewis's friend and colleague J. R. R. Tolkien, The Screwtape Letters is a timeless classic on spiritual conflict and the psychology of temptation which are part of our religious experience.
EIGHTH GRADE: Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott EIGHTH GRADE: Mr. Midshipman Easy by Marryat EIGHTH GRADE: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Doyle
"No historian's Queen Elizabeth was ever so perfeectly a woman as the fictitious Elizabeth of Kenilworth," wrote Thomas Hardy. Scott's magnificent novel re-creates the drama and the strange mixture of assurance and profound unease of the Age of Elizabeth through the story of Amy Robsart. A woman of great beauty and integrity, Amy is married to the Earl of Leicester, one of the Queen's favourites, who must keep Amy confined to Cumnor Place and the marriage a secret or incur royal displeasure. A rollicking sea adventure, set in the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Mr Midshipman Easy follows the escapades of a young midshipman who enters the King's service with some ideas that run badly afoul of the standards of naval discipline! The author was an actual 19th century British naval hero who lived a saga worthy of the novels of C.S. Forester or Patrick O'Brian. Captain Frederick Marryat survived fifty naval battles and served on the crack frigate Imperieuse under Lord Cochrane- the real-life model for Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey. Mr Midshipman Easy is said to have been inspired by Cochrane's adventures as a young midshipman. Lord Cochrane wrote of Marryat, "He was brave, zealous, intelligent and even thoughtful, yet active in the performance of his duties." Leon Howard's biography of Herman Melville credits Captain Marryat's writing as having influenced the author of Moby Dick to first go to sea. The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of master mystery writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most accomplished stories. Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson confront one of their most difficult cases ever: is there truly a curse on the old Baskerville estate? Is there truly a ghostly beast lurking on the dark, eerie moors? A masterful concoction of plot and mood, this story is guaranteed to give you the shivers.
EIGHTH GRADE: Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain EIGHTH GRADE: A Daughter of the Land by Stratton-Porter EIGHTH GRADE: At the Foot of the Rainbow by Stratton-Porter
Reckless, lazy, maddeningly inquisitive - yet forever repentent - Tom Sawyer, a universally recognizable character, is a classic literary hero. Tom Sawyer is Mark Twain's hymn to the secure and fantastic world of boyhood and adventure. From the famous episodes of the whitewashed fence and the ordeal in the cave to the trial of Injun Joe, the story is redolent of life in the Mississippi River towns in which Twain spent his own youth. A somber undercurrent flows through the high humor and unabashed nostalgia of the novel, however, for beneath the innocence of childhood lie the inequities of adult reality - base emotions and superstitions, murder and revenge, starvation and slavery. In his thoughtful and wide-ranging introduction, noted Twain scholar John Seelye considers Twain's impact on American letters and discusses the balance between humorous escapades and serious concern that is found in much of Twain's writing. As the youngest child, and female, in a large prosperous farm family, she has been designated as her mother's helper in old age. Kate finds this unfair since all of the brothers have been given land and the older sisters sent to teacher training. With the help of a nephew and sister-in-law, she defies her parents, becomes a teacher, leaves home. Her real ambition, however, is to own and cultivate a large farm. After rejecting the easy path to her dream, she suffers through a bad marriage but ultimately acquires her land and achieves happiness. By the time Gene Stratton-Porter published this novel she had already enjoyed some success with The Song of the Cardinal and Freckles. Set in Rainbow Bottom along the Wabosh River, At the Foot of the Rainbow tells of the lives of a dissipated Irishman, Jimmy Malone, his long-suffering wife, Mary, and Jimmy's boyhood friend and lifelong companion, Dannie Macnoun. Through Jimmy's deceit Mary is lost to Dannie for many unhappy years. When Dannie wins the fishing contest for the elusive Black Bass, matters come to a head. Ultimately, love triumphs over lies and adversity as Dannie and Mary are finally brought together. This Library of Indiana Classics edition also includes a brief autobiographical account of the author's early life and the beginning of her writing career.
EIGHTH GRADE: The Two Admirals by James Fenimore Cooper EIGHTH GRADE: The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper EIGHTH GRADE: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Author of the first scholarly history of the United States Navy, James Fenimoore Cooper had long hoped to commemorate the American navy by representing its fleet in action. Since no such fleet existed in 1841, he reverted to the Jacobite War of 1745 when the great British fleets were one. Ever the experimenter in fiction Cooper achieved a metaphysical dimension by assigning personal attributes to the ships in combat, and he also implicitly recalled his long friendship with Commodore William Branford Shubrick (much later, Rear Admiral Shubrick) in the story of the friendship between his two admirals - Oates and Bluewater - of the British Navy. The result is an intriguingly realistic romance. "In outline, The Two Admirals...is as romantic as The Pilot or Red Rover... The details, however, are in large part solid and real, and events are so handled that they raise philosophical questions - the more interesting because Cooper keeps personally allof and neither asks nor answers them directly - about the notion of legitimacy in government and the conventions of loyalty and obedience." - James Grossman, on James Fenimoore Cooper The deadly crack of a long rifle and the piercing cries of Indians on the warpath shatter the serenity of beautiful lake Glimmerglass. Danger has invaded the vast forests of upper New York State as Deerslayer and his loyal Mohican friend Chingachgook attempt the daring rescue of an Indian maiden imprisoned in a Huron camp. soon they are caught in the crossfire between a cunning enemy and two white bounty hunters who mercilessly kill for profit. The last of the Leatherstocking Tales to be written, though first in the chronology of the hero's life, The Deerslayer is James Fenimore Cooper's masterpiece. A fine combination of romance, adventure, and morality; this classic novel of the frontier is an eloquent beginning for Cooper's great wilderness saga - and an unforgettable introduction to the famous character who has been said to embody the conscience of America: the noble woodsman Deerslayer. Growing up is never easy - especially if your name happens to be David Copperfield. Orphaned as an infant, David must suffer the privations and cruelties of his evil stepfather, Mr. Murdstone - who packs David away to a workhouse at the age of ten! A trusting but vulnerable boy and practically alone in the world, David finds himself time after time at the mercy of a rogue's gallery of characters: the dashing but deceitful steerforth, the detestable clerk Uriah Heep, and, last but not least, the beautiful but ditzy Dora. With friends like these it's a miracle that David grows up at all!
EIGHTH GRADE: Pilot: A Tale of the Sea by James Fenimore Cooper EIGHTH GRADE: The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper EIGHTH GRADE: Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
Having drawn on local knowledge and private information for The Spy and on his own boyhood wxperiences for The Pioneers, it was inevitable that Cooper would seek a way to convert edge into art. His first coice of career had been the U.S. Navy, in which eh served as a midshpman from 1808 to 1810. In 1823, Cooper began writing The Pilot, which he saw as a sea novel that seamen that seamen would appreciate for its fidelity and yet one that landsmen could understand. "Cooper's poetic power is reserved for the sea, which is no backdrop but a separate world with forces and laws of its own. The individuation of the ships, particularly the personification of the ariel, contributes to the magic, but the exhilaration of the book comes from the triumph of human skill and intelligence over the uncertainties and downright hostilites of a worldof waves, winds, and hidden reefs. The land offers neither a comparable challenge nor so heady a victory." - from the introduction. Infused with imaginative vitality, James Fenimore Cooper's romantic tale of adventure was immediately successful when first published in 1824. Natty Bumppo, the mythic hero of Cooper's "Leatherstocking" tales, is now at the end of his life. Displaying both strength and dignity, he averts an Indian raid, saving a train of immigrants crossing the plains of the Western frontier. The final novel in Cooper's epic, The Prairie endures as a beautiful reflection of the profound aspirations and disappointments of America's nineteenth-century expansoinist movement. Barnaby Rudge is an early Dickens novel, his first historical novel, of the Gordon riots of 1780, about fifty years before his time. The book is a mere 634 pages, that is, two thirds as long as Copperfield but a 100 pages longer than The Old Curiosity Shop. One of Dickens' strong points is atmosphere, and this novel is one of his best in that department. His description of the Maypole Inn and its proprietor, slow John, is marvelous. Much of the book describes the riots and their effect on various characters.
EIGHTH GRADE: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens EIGHTH GRADE: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott EIGHTH GRADE: Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
Guilt and desire, money and the nature of capitalism are pervasive themes in Dickens' magnificent novel, Great Expectations. "Pip's expectation, before his expectations, is that he will be shown to have already committed a crime," writes David Trotter in his Introduction to this new edition. The orphan Pip's terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, and his mysterious summons to the house of Miss Havisham and her cold, beautiful ward Estella form the prelude to his "great expectations". How Pip comes into a fortune, what he does with it, and what he discovers through his secret benefactor are the ingredients of his struggle for moral redemption. Great Expectations was published in three volumes in July 1861. According to Swinburne: "This was the author's last great work, the defects in it are as nearly imperceptible as spots on the sun or shadows on a cloudy day." "Little is left to us but the air we breathe...the best and bravest supply their foreign masters with soldiers, and whiten distant lands with their bones, leaving few here who have either the will or the power to protect the unfortunate Saxon." More than a century after the Norman Conquest, England remains a colony of foreign warlords. Prince John plots to seize his brother's crown, his barons terrorize the country, and the mysterious outlaw Robin Hood haunts the ancient greenwood. With the secret return of King Richard and the disinherited Saxon knight Ivanhoe, Scott unfurls his splendid and tumultuous romance, featuring the tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouch and the clash of wills between the wicked Templar Bois-Guilbert and the sublime Jewess Rebecca. In Ivanhoe Scott fashioned an imperial myth of national cultural identity and drew on the conventions of Gothic fiction, including its risky sexual and racial themes, to explore the violent origins and limits of English nationhood. This edition uses the 1830 Magnum Opus text, corrected against the Interleaved Set, and incorporates readings from Scott's manuscript. Scott's tour de force of family intrigue has two heroes. Francis Osbaldistone, dispatched in disgrace from London, joins his foxhunting cousins at their ancestral seat in Northumberland. His suspicions of villainous Rashleigh Osbaldistone, and the request of Diana Vernon, the cousin whom Francis loves, draw in Scott's other hero, the brave, bitter Highlander and enigmatic outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor. Set on the eve of the Jacobite rising of 1715, Rob Roy (1817), in some ways the quintessential English-Scottish encounter, does not give up its secrets until the very last page. Few novels can match it for suspense and narrative daring, and in the swirl and colour of its characters we can agree with Hazlitt: "Sir Walter has found out (oh, rare discovery!)...that there is no romance like the romance of real life."
EIGHTH GRADE: The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper EIGHTH GRADE: The Wing-and-Wing by James Fenimore Cooper EIGHTH GRADE: Chainbearer by James Fenimore Cooper
The most realistic of the Leatherstocking Tales, The Pioneers takes Natty Bumppo to the threshold of old age - where he finds his way of life challenged as the once open frontier becomes private property. His struggle to defend his fiercely cherished freedom reflects a uniquely American drama of conflicting values and an unsparing, often caustic prtrayal of society in transition. With an afterword by Robert E. Spiller The year is 1799. Admiral Caraccioli of Naples is about to be executed from the yard-arm of Lord Nelson's flagship in the Mediterranean. Young and in love with Caraccioli's daughter, the spirited French privateer, Raoul Yvard, and his wily sailing master, Ithuel Bolt, harass the British fleet against all odds. Yvard is captured but cunningly escapes, setting up a showdown at sea against the overwhelming forces of the Royal Navy. Originally published in 1842, The Wing-and-Wing is a captivating novel of seafaring adventure, romance, and Napoleonic history from the masterful author of The Last of the Mohicans and The Deerslayer. "For James Fenimore Cooper nature was not the framework, it was an essential part of existence... He loved the sea and looked on it with consummate understanding. In his sea tales the sea...is in a subtle way a factor in the problem of existence, and, for all its greatness, it is always in touch with the men, who bound on errends of war or gain, traverse its immense solitudes. His descriptions have the magisterial ampleness of gesture indicating the sweep of a vast horizon. They embrace the colors of sunset, the peace of starlight, the aspects of storm, the great loneliness of the waters, the stillness of watchful coasts, and the alert readiness which marks men who live face to face with the promise and the menace of the sea." - Joseph Conrad The plot has thickened in the few short months that have intervened since the appearance of the first portion of our Manuscripts, and bloodshed has come to deepen the stain left on the country by the wide-spread and bold assertion of false principles. This must long since have been foreseen; and it is perhaps a subject of just felicitation, that the violence which has occurred was limited to the loss of a single life, when the chances were, and still are, that it will extend to civil war. That portions of the community have behaved nobly under this sudden outbreak of a lawless and unprincipled combination to rob, is undeniable, and ought to be dwelt on with gratitude and an honest pride; that the sense of right of much the larger portion of the country has been deeply wounded, is equally true; that justice has been aroused, and is at this moment speaking in tones of authority to the offenders, is beyond contradiction; but, while all this is admitted, and admitted not altogether without hope, yet are there grounds for fear, so reasonable and strong, that no writer who is faithful to the real interests of his country ought, for a single moment, to lose sight of them.
EIGHTH GRADE: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The storming of the Bastille...the death carts with their doomed human cargo...the swift drop of the guillotine blade - this is the French Revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures in his famous work A Tale of Two Cities. With dramatic eloquence, he brings to life a time of terror and treason, a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. With insight and compassion, he casts his novel of unforgettable scenes with unforgettable characters: the sinister Madame Defarge, knitting her patterns of death; the gentle Lucie Manette, unswerving in her devotion to her broken father; the heroic Sydney Carton, who gives his life for the love of a woman who would never be his.