Betrayed

My students turned in response papers to the novel of Norwegian author Amalie Skram a few days ago, and I am now grading them. One of my students has decided the entire novel is an indictment against Christianity, and that Skram is declaring deep, forgiving, understanding love is impossible.

I obviously did a very bad job teaching this novel.

But it is always hard to know how much to try to give the students life lessons, when I like to think my goal is to give them critical thinking skills, and not to tell them what to think. But in this regard, I did feel the need to gently suggest to the student she was mistaken.

There is a difference between selfish love--love that is demanding and unforgiving and self righteous--and unselfish love, that thinks first and foremost of the well-being of their partner.

It was that latter sort of love that Skram's character never learned. 

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