Sonlight seeks to introduce students to some of the greatest and best-loved literature of all time. We also want to help students interact with that literature -- great and joyful or great and dismal -- which has had the most significant impact within our culture. Often it is the emotionally heavy literature that has impacted our culture most deeply. And many parents recoil in horror. "Why the dark side?" they ask. Why not stick with those books that are uplifting and joyful?
I have attempted to answer this question elsewhere (see, for example, the articles on Why to and Why NOT to purchase Sonlight Curriculum). But the themes from those essays bear repeating.
Let it be understood up front: our purpose in studying books that are dark or brooding is not simply to permit us to say that our students are culturally literate. Though there is some value in such a goal, we have higher purposes in mind.
No, our purpose in reading the literature we do is to interact with the themes these books contain in hopes of analyzing how best to understand and respond to them from a Christian -- and, especially, an evangelistic ("Good News") perspective.
For, while the authors of these works may have expressed best what was in their own hearts, the reason their works have endured is because they express so poignantly what is in many millions of other people's hearts as well. We who claim the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must figure out how to speak to our audience's needs. If we are to understand their needs, we may be best prepared by learning to understand their literature.
If your goal is to protect your children from the evils and difficulties of worldly people, the Sonlight Curriculum 11th Year Literature program is most definitely not for you. If you want to prepare them to confront their culture and to offer hope in the midst of despair, we have worked and prayed, and will continue to pray, toward the end that this year's program will provide your children an excellent bootcamp training for the spiritual warfare of liberation to which God has called them.