Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Classics Never Die

I think most people would be surprised to know that my students, most of whom are non-readers, some of whom have language barriers, and all of whom are operating well below a ninth grade reading level, really love classical literature. It's really a shame that there's a movement away from literature towards a non-fiction based curriculum, because I'd love to spend a good quarter of the year exploring Greek and Roman influences. Oh the places we could go...but I digress.

We started The Odyssey this week. Thanks to movies like Troy, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Clash of the Titans, and The Clash of the Gods (a mini-series on the History Channel) the kids come pretty well-versed in the rolls of major gods, goddesses, and mythological creatures. They don't usually know the sordid details of the gods trysts and triangles, and the twisted family tree. Certain revelations usually result in gasps, giggles, and sometimes, sheer disgust. And of course, my kids always have such fresh insights into old work.

On the Olympians general lusting and bickering...

- "So they're always fighting and ho-ing? They're worse than us!"

On Zeus marrying his sister Hera...

- "He married his SISTER! Ewwww! Hillbillies!"

On Athena springing forth full grown from Zeus's forehead...

- "How does that work?"

On Zeus's erotic escapades and his resulting progeny...

- "That dude's got more kids than my dad."
- "He TRICKS them into sleeping with him? Can't you go to jail for that?"

On the concept of women as "beautiful evils"...

- "They've been this way for 3000 years!?"

On the prolific nudity in classical art...

- "These people need to get dressed already!"
- "What's with all the balls?"

And, best of all, on Hesiod's account of Aphrodite's birth...

- " . . . " (horrified silence)
- "Heh he...heh heh heh." (nervous giggling)
- "She's made out of her dad's junk?! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!???"

1 comment:

  1. I like the unpretentious honesty of these kids!