Barbara Castle has worked as a magazine editor, freelance writer, and graphic designer. She is a published children’s author and winner of the Oxford American Ambitious Writers’ Award for preliminary work on her literary memoir The Unforgiving Minute. Barbara holds a master’s degree in Philosophy from Summit University in Pennsylvania, and recently earned a second graduate degree in English Literature from the University of Central Arkansas. She currently is an adjunct instructor in Worldview and Culture, as well as Literature. Barbara lives in rural Arkansas where she joyously tattoos the walls of her home with quotes from Scripture and the Great Books. She has a crush on “Jack” (aka C.S. Lewis) and loves her two college-aged boys of fall (a loving descriptor for both small-town football and Hard Providence). She studies literary apologetics because there is a way of “knowing” truth through fiction.
Both Prior and Gibbs agree that ultimately virtue orients us toward one end, to “love God and enjoy Him forever.” Loving God is difficult; it too requires our attention in a culture that is constantly distracting us. And while virtue brings about human flourishing that can be observed from the outside, loving God requires us to remember who we are on the inside. It is the place where we are to be good alone … in the presence of One.
U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn and Mattie bring a type of vigilante justice to Tom Chaney, and we are glad, but Portis doesn’t allow us to be easy about it. There is always a poison fit for the avenger, even if she is a mere child.
If the institutions that oversee our slow twelve-to-eighteen-year process of education are called our alma-mater (nourishing mother), why can’t the dirt-filled, dung-laden places that convey agrarian lessons taught over 20 years be our nourishing father (alma-pater)?