I will be doing year 3 Redesign Rhetoric (and some dialectic) lit with my younger 2 children; last time around I used Classic with my older 2. My question is about the Dickens selection. Tale of Two Cities is my favorite Dickens, and I remember my sons really enjoying it last time around. In the Redesign, I see that it's been replaced with Great Expectations. I realize I'm perfectly free to substitute, and had planned to, but now I'm wondering if there is some reasoning behind the switch - something in Great Expectations (which, I have to admit, is not nearly my personal favorite) that we would not want to miss for literature studies (with a young freshman this year). I still have my TN's from classic, and so could easily substitute Tale of Two Cities if I'm not "convinced."
Hi Bonnie! For a younger freshman, it might be a very good idea to do Tale of Two Cities instead of Great Expectations, because it is both shorter and simpler to understand. We chose Great Expectations for a variety of reasons... here are some of them:
1. It is considered to be a more artistically perfect work than Tale of Two Cities.
2. It is all about a young man's coming of age and deals with the question of what it means to be both a man and a gentlemen, which we felt were extremely relevant and important topics for male students to discuss.
3. Great Expectations also deals with a couple of other topics that we think are good to discuss with adolescents of both genders, such as personal selfishness, lack of self-control, pride, lack of gratitude, and leaning on your own understanding.
Tale of Two Cities has a wonderful theme of self-sacrifice that is clear and easy to understand. Great Expectations is a more mature and complex work, but it also speaks directly to issues with which adolescents must grapple sooner or later. We felt that students are more likely to read and get a lot out of Tale of Two Cities as a pleasure book, for fun, on their own. We thought that Great Expectations was more worth taking class time to really break down and talk through. Anyway, that was our reasoning. :-) Hope it helps!
VERY helpful, Christy - thanks.