Humanities dives into new types of literature


Kasey Harvey

Students in Humanities are reading well known books The Odyssey and Beowulf to broaden their knowledge in literature. It’s a shift from reading typical traditional classic English books.

Aashi Oswal , Guest Contributor

Over the course of the second nine weeks, GT Humanities students have been taking a deep dive into Norwegian and Western literature, a change from traditional English books, accounting for a unique contrast of learning. 

“What we’re doing now is a deeper dive into the Odyssey, which is one of the most important western epics, and Beowulf, a Norwegian graphic novel, giving us the chance to study visual elements and how artists portray ideas visually alongside looking at the Odyssey,” Humanities teacher Beth Evans said.

The Odyssey is a common book selected for higher-level English classrooms, but the selection of a Norwegian graphic novel was based on the grounds for deeper exposure to writing in different parts of the world.

Beowulf and Odyssey are definitely what we call “in the cannon”, and it’s important especially if you’re studying western literature, which of course in humanities is a high priority for us, to be looking at literature from across the world,” Evans said. “We know that we’re educating these kids that are going to be moving forward into courses where they are going to need to have exposure, especially to the Odyssey, because it is so often referenced throughout the western canon”

Sheen Saxena, a Humanities student, enjoys how the Odyssey stands out, compared to other books she’s read in English classes. 

“I really like how they focus on mythology from other places, instead of realistic fiction because it really adds to the element of what we’re learning,” Saxena says.

On the other hand, for Tanvi Desai, another student in the Humanities class, Beowulf was what stuck in her mind, with it’s unique drawings and visual elements adding a twist onto a Norwegian epic. 

“So I preferred the graphic novel aspect of it, because seeing the visual elements helped me understand the story more. Especially since in the Odyssey and Beowulf, it uses more “old english” since they’re epic novels,” Desai said. “It helps to have the pictures that Beowulf provides, to further solidfy my understanding of the plot and story line in general, rather than having to figure it out myself,”

While Odyssey and Beowulf both have their distinct qualities as epics, the implementation of both of books, into the Humanities curriculum, has allowed for students to dive deeper into literature around the world. Effectively exposing them to special and unique cultures across the globe, all while sitting in a classroom.