K kepler-title

Seeing Through Stories

Seeing Through Stories: An Integrated Humanities Course in Literature, Art, and Film
This class is currently archived, but if you're interested in it being taught again, you can express your interest here!
08/21/2023 - 05/10/2024
Full Year
3.0 credits in
Grades 11-12

Taught by:

About the course

With the criteria of Whole, Broken, and Bent in view, students will categorize the stories in film, fine arts, and literature while also creating a personal canon of the best stories. This class is intentionally designed for upper classmen who want to learn to distinguish the true, good, and beautiful in these areas and who are comfortable discussing sensitive (mature) topics. While learning to use these classifications, students will spend one quarter on “Seeing Through Short(er) Stories,” another “At the Movies,” a third with “The Making of Monsters,”, and a final quarter on “Fine Arts Stories.” Within each area, students will discuss, research, debate, defend, write essays, and present findings that meet these criteria. *Note: While students are expected to find examples from each of these areas, the class will use discretion when researching.

Course Objectives

Students will:

  1. Define and distinguish between the terms “bent/twisted,” “broken,” “whole,” and “healing”
  2. Use the five topics of invention to understand and assess art, film, and literature
  3. Employ the Canons of Rhetoric in writing, thinking, debating, and presenting,
  4. Cultivate the moral imagination by striving to “repair” bent and broken stories
  5. Use the lens of True, Good, and Beautiful to create a personal canon of great stories from literature, film, and art


The following is a sample of the books, films, and artists we will be engaging with in this course; the full list will be posted well before the start of class.

“Seeing Through Short(er) Stories”

We will begin our year with examining what the categorization whole, broken, and bent mean using short stories and plays. Here are some of the stories we will enjoy:

  • Selections from Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and others
  • Plays like Dr. Faustus, The Sunset Limited, and Arsenic and Old Lace,
  • Various original myths, fairy tales, alongside modern adaptations

“At the Movies”

Each week students will study a different genre in film. They will be expected to watch movies within that genre but will be given options they can choose from. After researching the film students will write responses relating to the worldview while categorizing the film as broken, whole, or bent. For example:

  • “Rom-Com”:

    • Hitch (PG-13)
    • 10 Things I Hate About You (PG-13)
    • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (PG)
    • The Apartment (PG)

*Note: At times there will be R rated movies suggested but students will have multiple options to choose from. Because this class is focused around discerning the best stories, we will not consider ratings the highest authority.

“The Makings of Monsters”

Through a variety of books, films, and other sources students will uncover the true meaning of “monster” while discerning between broken, whole, and bent stories.

  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (as well as film adaptations)
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson (as well as film adaptations)
  • Dracula, Bram Stoker
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy

“Fine Arts Stories”

In this last quarter students will be applying all that they have learned to the stories depicted through more of the arts. We will examine various artists and styles in visual and performance art. Students will enjoy researching art, writing, and presenting on what they learn.

  • Selections from a variety of artists
  • Selections from performance art and more!
  • Selection from a variety of composers/musicians

Additional Texts/Resources:

  • Saving Leonardo, by Nancy Pearcey
  • Rembrandt is in the Wind, by Russ Ramsey
  • Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment, by Brian Godawa
  • Imdb Parental Guide (online resource)
  • Plugged In (online resource)
  • Selection from A Thomas Jefferson Education (teacher provided resource)
  • The Holy Bible

About the teacher

Sarah Abbott Sarah Abbott is the co-founder of the Classical Learning Consortium for New England and has been a classical educator for over twenty-five years. She is a native of Massachusetts and enjoys literature and the arts.