Beautiful Sentences

Sometimes we just enjoy the beauty of the language. I don’t usually write in my novels, but I did mark “I love this sentence” in the margins when I read this book.

I do not know how many of my students will read this novel, although it is a Pulitzer Prize winner, I am not sure many students will be interested in the musings of a dying Calvinist minister as he writes letters to his young son. They might.

I will show them the lovely language.

Like this sentence on page 71 of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson:

“As you read this, I hope you will understand that when I speak of the long night that preceded these days of my happiness, I do not remember grief and loneliness so much as I do peace and comfort — grief, but never without comfort; loneliness, but never without peace. Almost never.”

Teacher friends, do you have favorite beautiful sentences that you share with students?

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5 thoughts on “Beautiful Sentences

  1. Amy August 21, 2014 at 7:17 am Reply

    Thanks to you all for the comments. Those sentences you shared are awesome!


  2. steelmsl August 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm Reply

    You have just reminded me that I need to read that book! My all-time favorite book is Reading Lolita in Tehran because of Azar Nafisi’s description of what it means to read literature: “This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing.”
    I live and breathe a good story…don’t you?


  3. Kathleen Armstrong August 18, 2014 at 9:44 am Reply

    I teach fifth grade Language Arts and I have a board dedicated to beautiful sentences. Students write quotes from the books they hear during the read aloud or from their independent reading books. We label it with title, author, and page number. It’s amazing how much their awareness of language is enhanced throughout the year. We discuss figurative language among other things as the sentences go up. When the board is filled, I replace it with fresh paper. It also gives students new titles to pursue. Great on several levels.


    • Amy August 21, 2014 at 7:18 am Reply

      I love this! Students are learning about language in such an authentic way.


  4. David August 18, 2014 at 8:45 am Reply

    Thanks for this, Amy, and I agree completely: Gilead is a beautifully written book. Here’s a favourite from her first novel, Housekeeping:

    “Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars the mutable,
    and finally has come to look and not to buy. So shoes are worn and hassocks are sat
    upon and finally everything is left where it was and the spirit passes on, just as the wind
    in the orchard picks up the leaves from the ground as if there were no other pleasure in
    the world but brown leaves, as if it would deck, clothe, flesh itself in flourishes of dusty brown apple leaves, and then drops them all in a heap at the side of the house and goes on.”


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