Critical Lens:


    Your Task: Write a critical essay in which you discuss your book from the particular perspective of the statement that is provided for you in the Critical Lens. In your essay, provide a valid interpretation of the statement, agree or disagree with the statement as you have interpreted it, and support your opinion using specific references to appropriate literary elements from the book.


    A.    Novelist William Faulkner said, “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.”


    B.     According to critic Louise Rosenblatt, “Literature makes comprehensible the myriad ways in which human beings meet the infinite possibilities that life offers.”


    C.     The Victorian poet and critic Matthew Arnold said literature is “at bottom a criticism of life.”


    D.    The poet T.S. Eliot wrote “literature is not an assertion of truth, but the making of the truth more fully real to us.”


    E.     J.F. Clarke wrote, “The bravest of individuals is the one who obeys his or her conscience.”


    F.      Logan Pearsall Smith wrote, “It is not what an author says, but what he or she whispers, that is important.”


    G.    Anne Lamott wrote, “When writers write from a place of insight and real caring about the truth, they have the ability to throw the lights on for the reader.”


    H. “Good people…are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.”


    I.    Duff Brenna said, “All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason, that

          motivates characters in literature.”


    J.    “Literature opens a dark window on the soul, revealing more about what is bad in human nature than

           what is good.” -- anonymous


    K.   William Styron wrote, “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly

            exhausted at the end.”


    L.    “The only worthwhile literature is that which makes you think about your own life.” -- anonymous


    M.   “To be truly memorable, a book must have at its core one of life’s great quests: the quest for love,

             truth, or power.” -- anonymous


    N.   “Courage is measured by an individual’s willingness to continue fighting even when the likelihood

             of victory is small.” -- anonymous


    O. “Things can happen in some cities* and the tale of them will be interesting; the same story laid in

            another city* would be ridiculous.” -- Frank Norris

    P. “In a dark time, the eye begins to see,…” -- Theodore Roethke


    Q. “A well-written character is one that will inevitably behave in ways no one else would behave in that

            precise situation.” – John Gardner

    R. “Literature belongs to the world man constructs, not to the world he sees; to his home, not his

           environment.” – Northrop Frye


    S. “Character in decay is the theme of the great bulk of superior fiction.” – H. L. Mencken


    T. “Through engagement with others, literature lets us imagine what it would be like to be different.”

                                                                                                                                        – Denis Donoghue


    U. “All novels are about certain minorities: The individual is a minority.” – Ralph Ellison


    V. “The final test of a work of art is not whether it has beauty but whether it has power.” – John Hersey


    W. “The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.”

                                                                                                                                        – Elizabeth Drew


    X. “The best literature is about the old universal truths, such as love, honor, pride, compassion, and

           sacrifice.” – William Faulkner


    Y. “We do not read novels* for improvement or instruction.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes


    Z. “The purpose of literature is to educate the imagination, to train us to see what is possible.”

            Northrop Frye


    Aa. “To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.” – Brenadette Devlin


    Bb. “The human heart has ever dreamed of a fairer world than the one it knows.” – Carlton Noyes


    Cc. “You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.” – Yann Martel


    Dd. “For what does it mean to be a hero? It requires you to be prepared to deal with forces larger than

            yourself.” – Norman Mailer


    Ee. “The right good book is always a good book of travel; it is about life’s journey.” – H. M. Tomlinson


    Ff. “A person is a person through other persons…” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu


    Gg. “All that is literature seeks to communicate power…” – Thomas De Quincey


    Hh. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but

            where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


    Ii. “The real hero is always a hero by mistake…” – Umberto Eco


    Jj. “…it is the human lot to try and fail…” – David Mamet


    Kk. “Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength…” – Henry Ward Beecher

Last Modified on July 15, 2011