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Language and Literature



One of the hallmarks of a Classical curriculum is the study of primary sources of literature from the great writers of Western civilization. Through the study of ancient and modern languages, such as Latin and Spanish, we learn from the sources of the Catholic faith, engage with tradition, and communicate with the world.

” The good books are food for a wholesome imagination. They are well-written. They introduce young people to characters they will never forget. They soar beyond easy cynicism or nihilism… They may well have villains in them, there may be warfare, but there will not be a creepy relish for bloodshed- no itch for the base, the sick, the bizarre, the filthy, the evil”. — Anthony Esolen, author and professor at Thomas More College

Why study literature and language?

We human beings are made in the image and likeness of a speaking God. We strive to serve the Logos, who is Jesus Christ- the incarnate Word of God (Jn. Ch. 1), the Truth in the flesh (Jn 14:6). The same God who spoke all things into being (Gen. ch.1) has blessed us with the ability to speak so that we, as his images in the world, may participate in creating beauty and sharing truth.

Mastering grammar, the structure of language, helps us to think and communicate rationally. The study of literature fosters skills which are essential in education and daily life– analysis, critical thinking, abstract reasoning, and inferring universal truths from specific instances.

At St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, our Classical Catholic literature curriculum begins in pre-K and continues through junior high school. Students encounter traditional fables and fairy tales, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Greek myths, Arthurian tales, Beowulf, the writings of the saints, and Dante, along with other classics of the Western literary tradition.

Such great literature raises the most important questions—what is the meaning of life? What is heroism? What are beauty, truth, and goodness? How do we make Christ-like, heroic choices when facing hardships? Classical literature gives us the best of Western civilization, which was formed by the Catholic Church and has served as the foundation of our American heritage. Classical literature teaches us to use words logically and beautifully, preparing students for the challenge of college-level writing. Approached with an open mind, the study of literature is exciting, enjoyable, and transformative!

— Joseph Hebert
SEASCS Junior-High English Teacher