My Honors American Literature Experience | An Essay by Jansen Lyons
Jansen Lyons is the Honorable Mention for Grade 12 in the 2017 Your Favorite Seton Course Essay Contest
Of Seton’s courses that I have completed, I find the Honors American Literature course is one of the most powerful, well developed courses offered. By far, this course is my favorite. It is an in-depth course that explores the history of literature in America, diving into and teaching all kinds of literary art. It offers poems, short-stories, books, and novels alike, whether in parts or whole books. The course gives in detail lessons and assignments that tie into the historical, moral, and technical aspects of literature. The course does give a real challenge though. There are opportunities that expand my understanding of literature and help overcome my difficulties in writing. It is in these challenges of working through and learning from the difficult reading and writing assignments that I found the most joy, experience, and education. The Honors American Literature course gives a challenging, yet beneficial chance to understand and apply the works of the great American authors.
In completing the literary course, I have come to understand the gravitas of the preservation of good American literature that is encouraged for students and future generations. In realizing this, I find just how important it is to work toward great literature. The scope of knowledge and thought of the authors chosen for the course is remarkable, and their writings present ideas and methods I could have never come to understand in any outside means of learning. The varied material offered is rich and expansive, is taught in a manner that develops and gives the student authors and works to aspire to, while still presenting the works in a way that is understandable and enjoyable Not only is the course important, it is also thoughtful and educational.
Even as I yet fail to grasp what some of these authors write, I aspire to each author’s specific skill and immense scope of knowledge. My desire for writing my own works has helped motivate me to delve further back into this course. In reading the material again, I have find what I have to overcome in my own writing, either weaknesses or learning a method I had never known before; and yet still have the pleasure of reading what is presented as wholesome entertainment. The ability to learn about American authors, (Catholic, Classical, or other) and their works is a challenge that I find inspiring and profound.
In studying great Classical and Catholic American literature however, I have learned how to discern good literature from bad. Consequently, I find much of modern literature lacking or biased. Many modern authors apply false social norms into their writings, and this has denied our fellow students, and therefore our children someday, of the gifts of great literature. In homeschooling, I am surrounded daily in great literary works that are fun to read and that have better prepared me to combat the evils of the world.
The Classical definition of good literature tells us that the story teaches the reader how to be a better person through the material, acknowledges the Divine, and gives a healthy dose of honest, good entertainment. Modern literature falls short on all three aspects of good literature; they portray evil as good or neutral, abandon God continually, and promote despicable worldly pleasures as wholesome entertainment. Honors American Literature has shown me how to discern this by helping me understand the significance of wholesome, Classical-style literature.
Finally, the Honors American Literature course provides something that I personally found to be just as beneficial as learning about the literature. I found that in my own desires for writing, I was enjoying this course more than I had any other course. I found enthusiasm in learning and overcoming the challenges in completing this course, and I have found just how excited I am to write. I find challenges in literature are opportunities to grow in writing and skills, so that with all of the material presented I cannot wait to write my own literature someday.
In conclusion, Honors American Literature has provided for many profound opportunities for learning and furthering my talents. The vast scope of knowledge the student is exposed to is challenging, inspirational, and yet immensely enjoyable. I came to understand American and Catholic literature with great appreciation and aspiring enthusiasm, overcame many of my weaknesses in writing, am still learning new skills, and I found great joy in the course and its challenges. I hope others can find enjoyment and challenge in this amazing course as I have.
About Jansen Lyons
Jansen Lyons, a proud recent graduate from Seton High School, is a life-long home-schooler and New Mexico native who is a passionate writer and deeply devoted Catholic with Irish roots. He has been reading and teaching himself to write novels for nearly six years running, and hopes to be a published author who will continue the tradition of good Catholic literature for many years to come. For nearly ten years Jansen has been an avid rock-hound and meteorite enthusiast, with 18 extra-terrestrial discoveries under his belt to-date. With a love for God's creation, the outdoors, friends and family, and with College beginning in the fall, Jansen hopes to continue his pursuits and talents professionally, especially as an author and meteorite hunter.