You are about to read some of the most famous and popular stories in Western history. And they are also ancient–over 2,000 years old. You might be wondering why, as students of English, they would be of interest to you. Learning English, and learning any language, is much more than grammar and vocabulary. Culture is a huge part of learning a language. Learning a language also should be natural and be fun and enjoyable. I hope that these stories interest you and that your knowledge of the stories will help increase your vocabulary, both in reading and usage, and to familiarize yourself with Western cultural concepts.
Many of the stories and articles in this textbook are long and may be difficult. Most of the stories can be read by native English speakers at a middle school or early high school level. That means if your goal is to enter a university, you need to practice these kinds of readings. Do not be overwhelmed by the length of the readings. Spend your time reading quickly and taking notes first just to understand the main ideas, and then read again for details and vocabulary. Take notes in the margins to help you remember information. Careful study of this textbook will better prepare you for more college-level academic and literature readings.
Most importantly, these readings have been chosen to make you THINK. Connect what you already know with new information from the articles. Connect what you read in the stories with your own experiences and culture. Although these stories are thousands of years old, the reason they are still popular today is that they express universal themes and emotions that all humans have felt throughout history. I hope you will treasure your journey into Greek mythology and I hope it will help you on your path to success in English!
“It’s All Greek to Me” is an idiom that means “I don’t understand it at all–it’s like a foreign language to me.” Maybe when you first started your journey into English, you thought, “I can’t understand anything–It’s all English to me!” I hope this textbook will help you along in your journey, filled with more adventure than difficulty, as you move toward your goals.
Charity Davenport (Mrs. D)