Core Texts

Students read a bit of everything in the Valpo Core, including classic and contemporary literature, film, memoir, stories from the Bible and other religious traditions, philosophical works, historical documents, works of oral history, essays and letters. It won’t be a textbook, that’s for sure.


FALL 2012


Origins Unit


Langston Hughes, “Theme for English B”

 “Corn Mother” (Penobscot story of origins)

Benjamin Franklin, "Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America"

Genesis 1-4 (HarperCollins Study Bible)

Phyllis Trible. “Eve and Adam: Genesis 2-3 Reread”

Film: The Joy Luck Club (1993; directed by Wayne Wang)

Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


Education Unit


Film: Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination (2008; directed by Chad Heeter)

David F. Labaree, selection from Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling (selection to accompany viewing of Two Million Minutes)

Plato, “Allegory of the Cave” (from Republic, Book VII)

Paulo Freire, selection from Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education”

Eboo Patel, Acts of Faith: The Story of An American Muslim, The Struggle for the Soul of a Generation

Dai Sijie, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress


Love Unit


Martin Luther King, Jr., "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence" (from Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story)

Biblical perspectives on love (selected) (HarperCollins Study Bible)

Selections from the poetry of Rumi

Film: Philadelphia (1993; directed by Jonathan Demme)

Stephanie Coontz, selections from Marriage, A History

Euripides/Ted Hughes, Alcestis



Leadership and Service Unit


Sophocles, Antigone

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House (selections)

William Graham Sumner, What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (selections)

Film:  Casablanca (1942, directed by Michael Curtiz)

Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains (selections)


Work and Vocation Unit


“The Walmart Greeter” from Bowe, Bowe, and Streeter, eds., Gig: Americans Talk about Their Jobs

Studs Terkel, “Who Built the Pyramids?" from Working

Karl Marx, “Estranged Labor” from Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844; and “Reflections of a Young Man on the Choice of a Profession”

Karlfried Froehlich, “Luther on Vocation”

Bowe, Bowe, and Streeter, Gig: Americans Talk about Their Jobs (selections)

Film: Billy Elliot (directed by Stephen Daldry)


Life and Death Unit


The Gospel of Luke (HarperCollins Study Bible)

Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade (selections)

Film: Wit (directed by Mike Nichols)