Thanks to Kim Essenburg, English 10 teacher at Christian Academy in Japan, for sharing student reflections related to seeing God’s truth in the material they studied.
Here are sample student answers to the final question on my English 10 short story test: What else did you learn in this unit that you did not have a chance to show on the test?
- I think understanding that everyone has a perspective and that it’s important to connect literature and the Bible.
- All of the authors, it seems, either were born or ended up in situations where they didn’t really belong, or they were missing something, or something went wrong. It’s interesting to note the different responses each author had in their situation. Tolstoy had a primarily Christian perspective, Kafka was nihilist, and Camus was existentialist—each one giving their own reasons for why things were the way they were.
- I learned from Leo Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” that if we are selfish and greedy, it might seem like you’re “living the life” at the moment, but in the end you’ll lose everything (the important things) you have.
- Both Christianity and existentialism believe that people have the desire to find meaning. In Christianity, we find the true meaning in God and find joy, but in existentialism, people find their own meaning and find joy in that process. I thought it was sad that not all the people have hope and that not all people can feel true joy.
- I learned a lot about decision-making and finding my place here. We all get left out and feel like an outsider, but I know that I still belong to God.
- Every piece of literature has a worldview. It may be difficult to find, but if the author has any voice at all, you should be able to find it.
- I learned that just like “The Guest” we all have to make decisions between two things. I learned that I have to pray to God before choosing the decision by myself because without God’s power, we are all weak and cannot make a decision we won’t regret.
- From reading “The Bucket Rider” I learned how people who feel like they don’t belong anywhere are suffering because of emotional needs that may be as extreme as the Bucket Rider…. I want to be able to choose to act with empathy towards these people, unlike the coal dealer’s wife who ignored the Bucket Rider.