Lightning Literature and Composition
American Christian: Student's Guide

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Grade Level: 11-12
Author: Lucy S.R. Austen
Publisher: Hewitt Homeschooling Resources
Publish Date: 2011, 2nd Edition
Binding: Perfect Bound
Dimensions: 8 1/2 by 11 inches
Number of Pages: 164
Item ID: 3458 B2A  ISBN: 978-1-57896-258-7
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Second Edition, Perfect Bound

Students read in the following order:

  • Anne Bradstreet (poetry, text in this Guide: “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” “Another,” “As weary pilgrim, now at rest,” “By night when others soundly slept,” “Upon the Burning of Our House”)
  • Henri Nouwen (nonfiction: Can You Drink the Cup?)
  • Walker Percy (nonfiction, text in this Guide: "Another Message in a Bottle")
  • Madeleine L'Engle (nonfiction: A Circle of Quiet)
  • Wendell Berry (poetry, text in this Guide: "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” “The Way of Pain,” “A Meeting,” “We Who Prayed and Wept,” “In the Motel Parking Lot, Thinking of Doctor Williams,” “Enemies,” and "Come Forth”)
  • Frederick Buechner (novel: Godric)
  • Flannery O'Connor (short story, text on the Internet: "The Artificial Nigger")
  • Elisabeth Elliot (novel: No Graven Image)

All works are by Christian authors and are a mixture of literature on specifically Christian ideas and literature on more general themes. Lessons cover skills for college-level writing—giving poetry a close reading, writing a basic essay, reading to respond, and writing a literary essay—as well as tools for approaching College-level thinking from a biblical perspective—including a Christian approach to the tension between “art” and “message,” a biblical response to sin in literature, analyzing the worldview in literature, and finding a basis for identifying and evaluating ideas. For example, “Another Message in the Bottle” by Walker Percy is used to teach reading to respond and “The Artificial Nigger” by Flannery O’Connor is used to teach analyzing the worldview in literature.

The Student's Guide includes comprehension questions, writing exercises, discussion questions and project suggestions, additional reading lists, semester and full-year schedules, and bibliography. The answers to comprehension questions are in the Teacher's Guide (see Related items below). Book-length works are sold separately and in a pack with the guides (see Related Items below).

Recommendations:  This course is especially recommended for juniors and seniors, students interested in cultural issues, who are studying modern history, and who are interested in these authors and works. These should not be viewed as restrictions; this course can profitably be used by high-school students of any grade regardless of which previous Lightning Literature courses they have completed. It is also strongly recommended that families choosing this guide commit to parent-student discussion on the issues raised, as the Guide and the literature handle serious topics including racism, sexuality, and spiritual matters. The goal is to help students prepare for serious challenges, in college and life. Generally speaking, this course is more difficult than all the other Lightning Literature courses except the Shakespeare courses and the British Medieval course. Much depends on student interest in the material.

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